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Mental Health Month 2011 kicks off (with photos)

     Hundreds of members of the public and formerly mentally ill persons attended the opening ceremony for Mental Health Month at the Kowloon Park Piazza and the Mental Health Walk today (October 9) to launch a five-month series of activities.

     Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "Mental Health Month, now into its 17th year, is a major government public education programme to promote mental health."

     Noting that many enterprises, district organisations, self-help groups, students and volunteers joined the event this year, Mr Cheung said this demonstrated the concerted efforts of the community, the commercial sector and the Government in helping formerly mentally ill persons reintegrate into the community.

     This year Mental Health Month continues to promote neighbourhood support for formerly mentally ill persons. For the second consecutive year, Caring Ambassadors have been recruited through the Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness (ICCMWs) in 18 districts to help promote the spirit of respect, acceptance and care for formerly mentally ill persons, with a view to further strengthening community support networks.

     Around 1 000 Caring Ambassadors have been recruited since mid-September. They will be trained in the next few months to work as volunteers in the ICCMWs to promote mental health in their respective districts and serve as a bridge between residents and formerly mentally ill persons.

     "Since the ICCMWs commenced service last year, more than 11 800 formerly mentally ill persons and people with suspected mental health problems received services up till June this year. Furthermore, more than 1 500 public education activities have been held to enhance public awareness of mental health. The work of the ICCMWs has been effective.

     "The Government will continue to devote resources to strengthen the service. We have allocated additional funding of nearly $40 million in 2011-12 to increase the manpower for the ICCMWs, boosting the annual funding for ICCMWs by nearly 30 percent to some $170 million.

     "This can provide comprehensive and accessible service to more persons in need, and dovetails with the Hospital Authority's Case Management Programme to provide suitable support for patients with severe mental illness living in the community," Mr Cheung said.

     At the ceremony, 24 Caring Ambassadors were presented commendation certificates for their active participation last year.

     Games booths were set up at the piazza to promote public participation.

     Other officiating guests at the opening ceremony of Mental Health Month were the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Mr Lam Woon-kwong; the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Education on Rehabilitation of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee, Mr Raymond Lee; the Mental Health Ambassador 2011, Ms Monica Chan; and the Chairman of the Organising Committee of Mental Health Month 2011, Mr Stephen Wong.

     Prior to the ceremony, 400 people took part in the Mental Health Walk to promote the spirit of social inclusion. Mr Cheung and the President of the Legislative Council, Mr Jasper Tsang, as well as Mr Lam, Mr Lee and Ms Chan, led the walk from the Canton Road Playground to the Kowloon Park Piazza.

     Mental Health Month is jointly organised by the Labour and Welfare Bureau, Government departments, public organisations and non-governmental organisations. Details of the activities being held during Mental Health Month can be found on the Labour and Welfare Bureau website (

Ends/Sunday, October 9, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:31


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