Mental health organisation Mind HK and Jardine Matheson Group charity MINDSET have joined hands for the “More Than A Label” campaign – an initiative that tackles stigma against mental health in Hong Kong.
With World Mental Health Day taking place on Sunday, 10 October, there’s no better time than the present to take a moment to consider mental health in this city.
In Hong Kong and globally, mental illness and disorders remain largely misunderstood – there’s often no equation to physical illness, in both treatment and prevention, despite the very serious impact your mental wellbeing has on you. For example, the suicide rate in Hong Kong has increased significantly over the past four decades. And an estimated 1 in 7 people in Hong Kong will experience a common mental disorder at any given time.
From August to September 2020, Mind HK surveyed 1,010 randomly selected adults – in order to gain an idea of the general public’s attitude towards mental health issues in Hong Kong. The numbers are stark:
- 23 percent of respondents said they would not be willing to work with someone with a mental health problem
- 47 percent stated that they would not want to live next door to someone who has been mentally ill
- 46 percent believed that the main cause of mental illness is a lack of self-discipline and willpower (something Dr Elisabeth Wong, Mind HK’s clinical advisor and psychiatry specialist, emphasised as “completely false!”)
- 22 percent said people with mental health problems should not be given any responsibility
- and 13.6 percent of respondents agreed that people with mental illness don’t deserve our sympathy
It’s clear there’s a lack of access to resources in Hong Kong – or at least a lack of communication in regards to where you can find help and information – with 81.5 percent of respondents reporting that they had not previously accessed any mental health-related information and a whopping 85.6 percent reporting that, apart from hospitals, they didn’t know any other places where they could seek support for their mental health difficulties.
However, it’s not all negative: 86 percent of respondents agreed that mental illness is an illness like any other.
Reducing stigma and raising awareness about the prevalence of mental health disorders and the effectiveness of seeking help is crucial.
The campaign will include a public exhibition from Friday, 15 October to Tuesday, 19 October at The Wild Lot in Sheung Wan titled More Than a Label: This is our story, featuring personal stories of journeys with mental health, illness and recovery, as well as a beautiful bilingual (English and Traditional Chinese) book showcasing 41 local mental health stories. You can also view and download a digital copy of the book here.
The “More Than a Label: This is our story” exhibition will take place from Friday, 15 October to Tuesday, 19 October at The Wild Lot, Shop B, G/F, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
You can find out more here.