The Spring Festival is a time of happy reunions when family and friends return to their home villages from the cities where they make their living during the rest of the year. But it is also a time of so much stress for some that they have to seek medical help. The number of cases has not yet reached epidemic proportions, but there are enough sufferers for the media to have coined a phrase for the phenomenon - 'New Year Crossing Syndrome'. The Chinese word guan, used to signify crossing, means a mountain pass and reflects how hard it is for some to cross over to a new year. As the Spring Festival approaches, the psychiatric units in Guangzhou hospitals are busier than ever. Some patients are former inmates who feel an even greater need for treatment at this time of year, while others are new arrivals. The Second Hospital of Guangzhou Medical Hospital sees 60 to 70 patients a day, while others report 20 to 30 cases. Symptoms of the syndrome include being unable to sleep, panic attacks and depression. It can affect anyone, from migrant workers to senior government officials. Migrant workers worry about not making enough money to bring home and if they have, they are anxious about other things. They worry, first, about not being able to buy a ticket home. If they have a ticket, they worry about struggling through the crowds of millions and missing their train. The fear is so great, some bring a bed to the railway station and spend the night there before departure. Once on the trains and buses, despite vastly improved security measures, some still worry about being robbed of their year-long savings by fellow travellers or highway robbers. White-collar workers are stressed because they have to rush to finish projects at the end of the year or have failed to achieve targets such as a promotion or a pay rise. Officials are equally stressed because of the numerous lunches and dinners they have to host or attend in the last two weeks of the lunar year. All the wining and dining takes a toll on their mental and physical health.