Long wait for psychiatrist can have tragic consequences

Posted on March 12, 2014

Last month, there was another tragic report of a suicide in the Chinese-language press, a post-secondary student in Hong Kong.

The student wanted to see a psychiatrist in a public psychiatric outpatient clinic and the earliest appointment was in a year. The psychiatric nurse used the triage system (assigning degrees of urgency to patients).

Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Almost a year ago, there was a report about a woman suffering from a deteriorating mental condition. She had threatened to throw her baby out of a building shortly after being visited by her case manager, an occupational therapist. Although risk management for mentally disturbed individuals by the relevant professionals is difficult, the Association of Doctors in Clinical Psychology is alarmed by such stories.

Hong Kong is a rich city but very poor indeed when it comes to the mental health resources provided to the public. The shortage of psychiatrists in the public health sector, on which most citizens rely, is one of the major reasons needy people fail to get timely psychiatric services and the necessary intervention.

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Category(s):Suicide Prevention, Teenage Issues

Source material from South China Morning Post

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