Speech by CS at opening ceremony of CENTRAL Rat Race 2013 (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of CENTRAL Rat Race 2013 today (October 20):

Mr Y K Pang (Chief Executive of Hongkong Land), Mr Adam Keswick (Governor of MINDSET), ladies and gentlemen and all the Rat Race participants,

     I am delighted to join you here this morning at the CENTRAL Rat Race.  I am also happy to say that I am officiating at the annual CENTRAL Rat Race for a third time.

     The annual CENTRAL Rat Race, first held back in 2006, is a very meaningful event, combining a fun physical race with the promotion of awareness of mental wellness, as well as work-life balance and spirit of team work among our participants today.  Not only will this be a chance for business professionals like yourselves to put behind the stress from your everyday work and chill out with your friends and families, all the funds raised from this race will go to MINDSET, a charitable organisation focusing on mental health.

     First established in 2002 by the Jardine Matheson Group, MINDSET has been actively raising the awareness of the general public on mental wellness and providing direct assistance to people who suffer from mental health problems and their families.  I am pleased to learn that with the contribution of Jardine Ambassadors (a group of young executive volunteers from Jardine), MINDSET has put forward patient support services such as job trainings for rehabilitated people within the Jardine group and the setting up of ¡§MINDSET Place¡¨ for those with chronic mental illness to facilitate their integration into society.  Along with education programmes in schools and promotional activities to enhance community awareness of mental wellness, I am confident to say that not only have you ¡§made a difference¡¨ in the area of mental health, you have also created a more cohesive and harmonious society, bringing people from different walks of life closer together.

     The HKSAR Government attaches great importance to the promotion of mental well-being of our citizens.  We have been adopting an integrated approach in the promotion of mental health through a service delivery model that covers prevention, early identification, timely intervention and treatment, as well as rehabilitation for persons in need.

     Along the continuum of care, we support people who suffer from mental health problems and provide them with high-quality, personalised and accessible treatment and care.  Moreover, we collaborate with NGOs and build community-based infrastructure and services to help mental patients reintegrate into society.

     Intervention and treatment aside, we are also committed to reducing stigma and discrimination in society, improving public awareness of mental health issues, and building resilience to mental illness.   

     Prevention is the first step to combat mental illness and improve the mental well-being of our population.  Yet it requires collective efforts by different sectors of our community.  I believe that with everyone's help, we can build better societal and personal resilience to mental illness, prevent it where possible and, where not, take constructive actions to reduce the severity, duration and long-term impacts of mental health issues on individuals, families and friends, carers and the community.

     We are pleased to have long-established partners in the promotion of mental wellness, including MINDSET, the beneficiary of the Race today.  I also wish to extend my gratitude to Hongkong Land for combining today¡¦s fun-filled race with a very meaningful cause.

     May I wish the CENTRAL Rat Race 2013 a huge success and all participants the best of luck, and more importantly the best of fun!  Thank you very much.

Ends/Sunday, October 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 10:42