Hong Kong Policy address neglected important mental health issues

Posted on January 29, 2014

Hong Kong - There are 198 paragraphs in this year's policy address, but only one addresses the issue of mental health.

Enhancing the standard of care is an important component of any mental health strategy, be it regional or national, but the promotion of mental health, stigma reduction, improvement of access to services and support for carers, reduction of suicides, and many more components are as important.

In 2005, Hong Kong spent 0.24 per cent of gross domestic product on mental health care, which is insufficient. There is, and will continue to be, a great shortage of mental health professionals. In 2013, a Legislative Council document estimated there were about 280 psychiatrists in Hong Kong, with an unknown number of counsellors and psychologists due to the lack of a statutory registration system. It is predicted that there will not be enough psychiatry, psychology and counselling professionals to meet the future needs of the city.

Hong Kong is a potential laboratory for developing and empirically testing many information- and communication- technology-related initiatives for mental health improvement because of the high penetration rate of information and communication technology among citizens. Initiatives like web-based self-monitoring, online psychological therapy, peer support forums online and text-based chat via social media will be useful adjuncts to standard services.

Future mental health services should include a clear focus on improving the integration of mental health into primary care to increase the likelihood of early identification of a condition and treatment.

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Category(s):Mental Health in Asia

Source material from South China Morning Post

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