10 June 2013

CUHK Psychology Department Releases Study Results on Effective Strategies for Promoting Psychological Well-being
A New TV Series ‘Psychological Resilience’ to be Launched with RTHK



The Department of Psychology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been carrying out various researches about psychological well-being, hoping to find ways to promote the psychological resilience of the general public.  Prof. Winnie Mak, Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology has recently completed two community research studies on effective strategies for promoting psychological well-being of individuals.

Prof. Patrick Leung, Chairperson of the Department of Psychology said, ‘According to the Hong Kong Quality of Life Index recently released by the Centre for Quality of Life at CUHK, 38.9% of about 2,000 respondents, aged 15 to 70, showed symptoms of emotional distress. Another study conducted by the Department of Psychology revealed that only 16.1% of those having emotional and behavioral disorders had sought help. It is therefore crucial to strengthen the awareness of psychological well-being in the community as soon as possible.’

The two community studies conducted by Professor Mak are respectively the ‘Online Mindfulness Training’ and ‘Compassion and Gratitude Writing’. The ‘Online Mindfulness Training’ was conducted from September 2008 to March 2009, participated by 360 university staff and students (among them 107 were control participants). The ‘Compassion and Gratitude Writing’ training was conducted from January to April 2013, participated by 117 university students (among them 38 were control participants).

Participants of the ‘Online Mindfulness Training’ were required to practise daily exercises including meditation, body scan and stretching exercises following the guidelines provided on the website. After eight weeks of practice, their life satisfaction, overall psychological well-being, perceived stress level as well as stress and anxiety symptoms were significantly improved and the effect lasted for over three months. Participants of the ‘Compassion and Gratitude Writing’ training were required to write messages of self-compassion or gratitude for six consecutive days, six minutes a day. After six days, comparing to the control group, the participants demonstrated significant improvement in their overall psychological well-being.

To further strengthen public awareness on mental health and stress management, CUHK Department of Psychology and Radio Television Hong Kong have co-produced a 5-episode TV programme series entitled ‘Psychological Resilience’. Sponsored by the Community Partner Foundation Limited, the programme features five real-life cases to bring out the positive message of facing stress with courage. The five cases include: (i) Ms. Esther Lee is a writer who had confronted the battle against depression for years. With the support of her husband, Prof. Leo Lee, she looked into the deep-rooted causes of the problem and faced it with courage; (ii) Mrs. Josephine Ling was once a ‘tiger mom’ who had high expectation on her daughter and gave her much pressure, but eventually came to her awakening when her daughter attempted suicide; (iii) Mrs. Tam was perceived as a successful professional living a comfortable life, but she was actually facing years of marital distress. She finally overcame the challenge with her husband with ‘sincerity’; (iv) Mr. Sidney Wong started a fast-growing business at his young age, but all his fortune vanished unexpectedly some years later. He then got a job at a social enterprise where he re-discovered his self-esteem; (v) Set designer Mr. Ken Chort was a perfectionist at work, but that gave himself much pressure as well. Assisted by his life coach, Ken managed to walk away from anxiety. 

‘Psychological Resilience’ will be broadcast at 7pm every Wednesday on TVB Jade starting from 12 June. Simultaneous live webcast and online archive are available at RTHK website (http://tv.rthk.hk).

(From left) Miss Anita Tong, Executive Producer, RTHK; Mrs. Josephine Ling, interviewee of 'Psychological Resillience'; Prof. Freedom Leung Yiu-kin and Prof. Winnie Mak Wing-sze, Associate Professors, Department of Psychology, CUHK; Ms. Beatrice Mok, Chairperson of Community Partner Foundation Ltd, Prof. Patrick Leung Wing-leung, Chairman, Department of Psychology, CUHK; Miss Sheren Tang, host of 'Psychological Resilience'; and Mr. Sidney Wong, interviewee of 'Psychological Resillience'.
(From left) Miss Anita Tong, Executive Producer, RTHK; Mrs. Josephine Ling, interviewee of 'Psychological Resillience'; Prof. Freedom Leung Yiu-kin and Prof. Winnie Mak Wing-sze, Associate Professors, Department of Psychology, CUHK; Ms. Beatrice Mok, Chairperson of Community Partner Foundation Ltd, Prof. Patrick Leung Wing-leung, Chairman, Department of Psychology, CUHK; Miss Sheren Tang, host of 'Psychological Resilience'; and Mr. Sidney Wong, interviewee of 'Psychological Resillience'.