Education Bureau works with Department of Health to promote mental health of students (with photos)
The DH launched the Joyful@HK Campaign in January this year with the aim of increasing the public's engagement (including among the elderly, adults and adolescents) in promoting mental well-being and enhancing their knowledge and understanding of mental health. The aim of the Joyful@School Campaign is to further promote in schools the Joyful@HK Campaign's three key messages - "Sharing", "Mind" and "Enjoyment" - through a series of activities. The EDB and the DH have compiled a resource CD-ROM and relevant materials for schools' reference and use.
The Secretary for Education (SED), Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, said that in order to nurture the young generation, it is of utmost importance to look after their mental well-being and cultivate in them a positive attitude towards life and the ability to handle adversity so that they can adapt to the world's future development. He thanked the DH for supporting the Joyful@School Campaign.
He said, "The Joyful@School Campaign will disseminate mental health messages through various means, such as radio programmes and social media, and encourage schools to organise school-based activities. It aims to enhance the understanding of mental health among teachers, students and parents, and to encourage students to think from different angles in the face of challenges, understand and accept mental health services and seek help from others when necessary. Schools may apply for the Quality Education Fund to organise related activities for students if needed." He also encouraged schools to strengthen the bridging programmes for Secondary 1 and Secondary 4 students by adding elements of promotion of mental health and well-being so as to enhance students' ability to adjust.
The Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan, pointed out that mental health of adolescents is an important public health issue in Hong Kong. She said, "According to the preliminary results of a survey conducted by the DH in 2015, about 10 per cent (9.5 per cent) of respondents aged from 12 to 17 experienced symptoms of severe psychological distress during the past month, and about 40 per cent of those respondents rated their mental health status over the past six months as fair (36.9 per cent) or worse (1.2 per cent).
"To better address the needs of adolescents, the Student Health Service of the DH introduced in 2001 the Adolescent Health Programme to promote the physical, psychosocial and mental well-being of adolescents in schools through outreach activities to students, parents and teachers in order to help adolescents to establish positive mindsets and attitudes towards their life."
To further promote mental health education, the EDB will enhance the existing mechanism for transferring students' related information to new schools to promote communication between schools and parents, so that students can receive appropriate support in adjusting to a new environment. The Food and Health Bureau, in collaboration with the EDB, the Hospital Authority and the Social Welfare Department, will set up a multi-disciplinary platform to provide intervention and training for students with mental health needs as well as consultation services for teachers and parents. The EDB will also develop more screening tools and provide gatekeeper training for teachers to assist schools in their identification of at-risk students.
The Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides submitted a progress report to the SED in July. The report made 11 recommendations in the areas of student mental health and schools to enhance appropriate care and support for students at risk of suicide, including the roll-out of the Joyful@School Campaign. The Committee will continue discussions on the issue and expects to submit the full report to the SED in October.
Ends/Thursday, August 25, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:20
Issued at HKT 15:20