CUHK Launches the First One-stop Online Psychological Self-help Platform for Improving Working Adults’ Mental Health in Hong Kong
According to a survey recently announced by the Jockey Club TourHeart Project (the “Project”), 1 in 4 working adults in Hong Kong reported experiencing anxiety and/or depressive symptoms. Almost half (46%) of the respondents were reluctant to seek help when experiencing distress. 60% of the respondents expressed zero to low interest in participating in activities for improving mental health. The findings also highlighted the prevailing stigma towards people with mental illness at the workplace. There is probably no single culprit behind the current situation but rather the combined consequences of a number of factors, such as the lack of awareness and knowledge about mental health in the Hong Kong population, limited access to timely interventions, and widespread misconceptions about mental illness.
To ignite a meaningful conversation among various stakeholders in mental health as well as to debut the Project’s one-stop online psychological self-help platform for working adults (www.jctourheart.org), a one-day symposium titled “Jockey Club TourHeart Project Inaugural Symposium: Stepped Care Services and Work Place Mental Health” was held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on 29 June 2018.
The opening ceremony of the symposium was officiated by Dr. Chui Tak Yi, JP, Under Secretary for Food and Health, HKSAR Government, Ms. Imelda Chan, Head of Charities, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Professor Benjamin Wah, Provost of CUHK, Professor Chiu Chi Yue, Dean of Faculty of Social Science of CUHK, Professor Winnie Mak, Professor, Department of Psychology of CUHK, Dr. Cheung Hung Kin, Vice-chairperson of the Executive Committee, New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (NLPRA), Mr. Terry Wong, Acting CEO of NLPRA and Ms. Amanda Li, Co-founder of StoryTaler.
During the symposium, local and overseas speakers from government, academia and commercial sectors such as insurance, hospitality and employee benefit consultancy, gave their informed perspectives on and knowledge and experiences of public mental health provisioning and work place mental health practices in keynote presentations and panel discussions before an audience of over 200 people from a wide range of industries.
Dr. Chui Tak Yi, JP, in his welcoming speech said, “I am excited to learn that this Project uses an online stepped care approach to reach out to working adults to meet their psychological needs, so that they can access mental health knowledge and evidence-based psychological training to take care of their own mental health at anytime and anywhere they wish. Stepped care models are well-documented for improving the efficiency of the healthcare system because of their self-correcting nature. This platform is one of a kind in Hong Kong and I hope that the users can benefit from it.”
Ms. Imelda Chan, Head of Charities of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said, “The Club is very grateful to partner with the CUHK and New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association to launch the Jockey Club TourHeart Project. Mental well-being is an essential component in the healthy development of families and communities. The Club attaches much importance to collaborating with the Government, academia, medical professionals and non-governmental organisations in carrying out a range of projects that promote mental well-being for different target groups, such as older adults, women and other deprived groups in need. Looking ahead, we hope to continue working with different partners to address the challenges of mental health problems and foster knowledge transfer among various sectors.”
Professor Benjamin Wah, Provost of CUHK, said, “The Project is grounded on solid scientific evidence. It has leveraged the convenience of the internet in providing a cost-effective and timely solution to individuals with varying degrees of mental health needs. This solution is highly scalable to meet the increasing mental health service demands in society.”
Different people vary in their mental health states at different times and have varied psychological needs. The Project strives to promote mental health in the community through evidence-based interventions according to a person’s needs. It aims to promote mental health awareness and reduce the stigma attached to mental illnesses in the community, promote mental health and personal growth among individuals, prevent depression and anxiety, and provide early intervention in psychological distress.
Professor Winnie Mak, the Principal Investigator of the Project and Professor of the Department of Psychology, CUHK, said, “Multi-sector partnership is paramount in creating a culture conducive to mental health. It requires government, business, non-profit and academic sectors to join forces to tackle the mental health challenges. I also encourage the public to register as our members to start using our services. The contents of the online self-help platform are constantly being updated to provide timely, relevant and engaging materials.”
For companies and organisations that are interested in delivering mental health services to their employees, the Project team can provide aggregate reports to inform employers about their employees’ overall mental health status and service utilisation while keeping individual identities confidential for privacy protection.
The Jockey Club TourHeart Project: Hong Kong’s First One-stop Online Personalised Platform for Mental Health
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust donated HK$16.31 million to CUHK and New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association to launch the three-year Project that has been running successfully since September 2017. Through combining research and technology, this Project has developed the first stepped-care mental health platform in Hong Kong to provide both online and offline services that cater to different levels of psychological need.
The Project’s online platform (www.jctourheart.org) was officially launched on 29 June 2018. Working adults can access an array of online mental health tools and programmes anytime, anywhere. All registered members can take part in self-guided online modules, coach-guided online courses as needed, or receive guided self-help interventions from psychological well-being officers. After signing up as members by completing a brief online mental health check-up, the system will automatically recommend appropriate services to members according to their current mental health profiles. Every time members complete the check-up, the intensity of the services will be adjusted according to their responses. In addition to online services, various offline activities, such as Storytelling Days, well-being related workshops, and public exhibitions will be held to reduce the public’s misconceptions of mental illness and to promote mental health.
Diversity and Well-Being Laboratory, Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Diversity and Well-Being Laboratory is committed to promoting social inclusion and individuals’ well-being. Understanding the connection between stigma and well-being through basic and applied research, the Diversity and Well-Being Laboratory develops training and educational materials to reduce stigma attached to various health conditions or social identities as well as to promote well-being to the general public, based on scientific evidence.
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association strives to promote mental wellness for people in recovery from mental illness and for their families and the general public, with the ultimate goal of equal opportunities, social inclusion, acceptance and full participation for all in the community. New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association is dedicated to pioneering and delivering people-focused, recovery-oriented, and evidence-based community mental health services with care and respect, innovation and a continuous drive for excellence and professionalism.
StoryTaler works to promote mental health and reduce stigma in the community. Its members consist of individuals who have lived experience of mental illness, individuals with psychology background and professional training, and community members who are interested in mental well-being and supportive of its cause. StoryTaler aims to bridge scientific evidence about mental well-being and illness with personal stories to reduce stigma and promote equality and raises the community’s awareness on mental health. StoryTaler embraces the principles of equal participation and co-production wherein all members participate in the developmental process and co-produce educational and promotional materials together according to each member’s strengths.