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Mental Health Awareness Month (pt 2)

Hailey + Vincent

tw/ mention of suicide + abuse

Brief overview of main factors affecting mental health in HK

A high-tempo, action-packed and densely populated city, HK is ranked the fifth most stressed in the whole world by Cigna. A study conducted by CUHK has revealed the mental health of the HK population is deteriorating. In 2019, the average score of 1,009 surveyed residents was beneath the 52-point pass mark - 44.6 points - indicating poor mental wellbeing.

What are the main factors that influence mental health in HK?

  1. Work culture: one of the most overworked cities, HK has one of the longest working hours in the world, and workers are frequently forced to work overtime. A tense and stressful workplace atmosphere can also contribute to deteriorating mental health

  2. Social Stigmatization: mental health is not so frequently discussed in Hong Kong; those who are suffering are often discriminated against. A Mind HK study, done in collaboration with HKU and KCL, revealed that approximately 40% - nearly half - of the population are unwilling to live in close proximity to those who have are suffering from mental health conditions

  3. Socioeconomic Inequality: many in HK are extremely poor, such as those who are forced to live in subdivided flats. For example, a lack of being able to provide for the family may impact feelings of self-worth and perhaps cause one to feel “useless”

What impact does the coronavirus pandemic have on mental health?

  • As a result of rapidly increasing cases, social contact has drastically decreased for many and the government has had to implement severe and strict restrictions.

  • The pandemic has had a multitude of effects on the HK population, including:

    • Decreasing job security, amplifying the financial struggles and woes faced by many people in HK

    • Forcing those who already had low income to stay home

    • Increasing stress factors in students' lives, such as decreased social interaction and increased uncertainty

  • Furthermore, a lack of control, especially over testing and compulsory isolation orders (especially in unfamiliar environments), have exacerbated feelings of anxiety and fear, e.g. quarantine orders may result in a separation from family. According to the SCMP, in March, within a 27 hour period, there were four attempts of suicide at HK’s quarantine centers

  • Domestic workers are also particularly at risk in the current situation; after testing positive for COVID-19, quite a few have faced discrimination and abuse - for example, some are now homeless and jobless, just because they tested positive


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