Nearly three-quarters of Hongkongers show depressive symptoms, a significant rise over last year
In addition to introducing mental health metrics into policymaking, each one of us must boost our mental health literacy and stop stigmatising mental illness
The past six months have been as boring as they have been nerve-wrecking. Every day consists of me narrating everything I am doing or seeing or thinking or just making, talking gibberish to a toddler who needs to – according to experts – hear 30,000 words spoken a day for verbal fluency skills.
Without being able to attend classes that have been paid for, due to social distancing, the weight of those 30,000 words fall solely on us parents – no teacher or grandparent or aunt or uncle can help with diffusing that responsibility. And being a bilingual household, we’ll need to double the talking. That’s close to 11 million words in two languages that should have been spoken in the past six months.
Professor Eric Chen Yu-hai, head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Hong Kong, confirmed what most of us have suspected with the latest survey findings. “The overall mental health situation in Hong Kong is not good. We are in a very serious situation,” he said.
The professor’s use of euphemism is admirable. “Not good” is surely an understatement when nearly three-quarters of Hongkongers have been found to have shown moderate to high levels of depressive symptoms – like feelings of worthlessness and recurrent thoughts of death.
Separately, the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong found almost nine in 10 sufferedfrom stress at work during the pandemic and half of the city’s workforce report symptoms of anxiety disorder.
HKU’s dean of medicine Professor Gabriel Leung called the finding that nearly one in 10 Hongkongers have suspected depression in last year’s study “an epidemic of mental health [issues]”. Granted, “epidemic” has taken on an entirely different meaning since last year, but it’s gone up sevenfold. The compound impact of social unrest and public health crisis is catastrophic.
It’s good to see the Advisory Committee on Mental Health roll out a “Shall We Talk” public awareness campaign, but so much more needs to be done. While – borrowing the words of Professor Chen here – mental health policies and services are “not good”, we need more than just the government to do better.
Yes, we will need to introduce mental health metrics into our policymaking processes. But it takes all of us to boost our mental health literacy. It takes every one of us to stop
stigmatising mental illness. And it begins with us coming to terms with our negative feelings and our worries at these extraordinarily challenging times. Our vulnerability makes us human.
2 Reasons Why CEOs, Celebrities and Fortune 500 Corporations Rely on Robren.
"Father of Asian Firewalking", AI Wizard, Strategist, Author, Change Expert.
1. Known as "The Father of Asian FireWalking", Robren has helped and trained over 250,000 students as an international keynote speaker, an in-house corporate trainer, a prolific Writer and a YouTuber. He spent over $100 million on creating marketing and A&P budgets while working as a Copywriter for 2 top ad agencies, Leo Burnett Hong Kong and Wunderman Thompson.
2. Robren is Asia’s #1 Change Expert, and founder of ChangeU. He is an NLP Master Practitioner and a US-Certified FranklinCovey Trainer for 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His clients include Fortune 500 corporations and Top Brands such as Coca-Cola China, Hong Kong Jockey Club, CLP Power Hong Kong, Public Bank, CIMB Bank, Genting, Tabung Haji, Tenaga Nasional. He has been widely featured in the media such as TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew.
In summary, Robren is the CEO Whisperer, who advocates a work-life balance. He will take you to places you never imagine is possible.