• Mental patients are dangerous if not cared for.

Mental patients are dangerous if not cared for. (Photo : Getty Images)

Guardians of people who suffer from serious mental disorders in Beijing may qualify for a 2,400 yuan ($370) annual subsidy from the municipal government, provided they have delivered proper care, according to a statement by the city's Commission of Health and Family Planning released on Monday, reported China Daily.

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The aim of the subsidy is to encourage good care for the people with serious mental disorders in Beijing, estimated to be as many as 58,000, as well as reduce accidents, said Gao Xiaojun, the spokesman of the commission.

Introduced at the end of last year, the measure has been carried out in some parts of Beijing since February and will eventually go citywide, said the commission.

According to the commission, Beijing is the first provincial-level area in the country to adopt a subsidy like this one in its entirety.

Gao said that guardians must first apply for the subsidy with the local subdistrict offices or the township government where they reside. They can get the subsidy after inspection and approval procedures have certified that the proper conditions have been met.

The conditions that the guardians have to meet include ensuring mentally ill people are properly taken care of and have not inflicted hardship to others over the past year.

In the past several years, the lack of oversight by guardians has been one of the major reasons for accidents involving people with mental disorders in Beijing, said Li Zhibo, an official with Beijing's General Social Security Management Office.

"We hope such accidents can be reduced with the implementation of the policy," said Li.

Last year, Wang Xuezhi, a 53-year-old man, was sentenced to life in prison by a Beijing court after he stabbed four people with a knife in a supermarket in 2013, leading to one casualty.

According to a report by the Beijing Evening News, the court gave Wang a light sentence because he had a mental illness and was suffering from delusions when the crime was committed.

Zhang Shouzi, a psychiatrist at Beijing Geriatric Hospital, said that those who suffer serious mental disorders cannot control their behaviors and might harm themselves or others.

"Many accidents could have been avoided if such individuals had been properly taken care of," said Zhang. "The issue deserves attention from the whole society."