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Mental Aid Proves Helpful

Psychologists are in demand by loved ones grieving for the 112 passengers aboard the China Northern Airlines plane that crashed on May 7 near Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The first group of psychologists from Dalian's No 7 Hospital have arrived at a local hotel where the victims' families are staying. The professionals had just attended a review class on how to comfort people.

More psychologists have followed in the days since. Their presence has helped comfort an 8-year-old girl who lost her mother, a flight attendant in the crash.

Family members hesitated telling her the news out of concern she would not handle it.

After talking to psychologists, they decided to tell her immediately.

"It would be even harder on the child if she kept living with lies," one psychologist said.

Afterwards, the girl said she had already assumed the worst.

Wang Xiangdong, a professor at Beijing University, said that the sooner psychological treatment begins for well-adjusted people, the faster their psychological wounds heal. Timely psychological aid is therefore crucial to the families of the air crash victims, Wang said.

Inviting psychologists to comfort family members of victims of major accidents is still uncommon in China.

(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2002)

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