Is there a role for child psychiatry in Vietnam?

Robert S. McKelvey, David L. Sang, Hoang Cam Tu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: (i) To describe the need for child psychiatric services in Vietnam; (ii) to review child psychiatry's present role within the Vietnamese health care system; (iii) to identify cultural, economic and manpower obstacles to the development of child mental health services, and (iv) to recommend a course for the future development of child psychiatry in Vietnam. Method: The existing literature relevant to the Vietnamese health and mental health care systems, traditional practices and beliefs regarding health and mental health, and the current status of psychiatry and child psychiatry in Vietnam was reviewed. In addition, discussions regarding these topics, and the future of child psychiatry in Vietnam, were held with leading Vietnamese health and mental health professionals. Results: The current role of child psychiatry in Vietnam is limited by the health care system's focus on infectious diseases and malnutrition, and by cultural, economic and manpower factors. Treatment is reserved for the most severely afflicted, especially patients with epilepsy and mental retardation. Specialised care is available in only a few urban centres. In rural areas treatment is provided by allied health personnel, paraprofessionals and community organisations. Conclusions: While the present role of child psychiatry in Vietnam is limited, it can still make important contributions. These include: research defining the need for child and adolescent mental health services, identifying priority child psychiatric disorders and assessing the effectiveness of priority disease treatment; and training to enhance the skills of primary health care providers in the treatment of priority disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1997


  • Child psychiatry
  • Cross-cultural
  • Mental health
  • Vietnam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Is there a role for child psychiatry in Vietnam?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this