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Advisory Committee on Mental Health convened its twenty-fifth meeting (with photo)
     The Food and Health Bureau (FHB) today (June 9) convened the twenty-fifth meeting of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health (the Advisory Committee) to review the progress and effectiveness of policies promoting mental health. At the meeting, members discussed ways to further enhance the mental health of the public during the COVID-19 epidemic along with representatives of the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB), the Education Bureau (EDB), the Department of Health (DH), the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Hospital Authority (HA) . 
     The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said, "We have all along been sparing no effort in promoting the mental health of members of the public. In the past two years or so, the epidemic has posed impacts on the mental health of the citizens and made the work of the Advisory Committee more challenging. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Chairman and members of the Advisory Committee for beating the odds for the sake of enhancing the mental health of the public, continuing to promote mental health-related work, and providing constructive advice with their precious time. As the World Health Organization's slogan goes, 'there is no health without mental health', we will continue to work together with various bureaux and departments, the HA and stakeholders of various sectors in the community to build a mental health-friendly society in Hong Kong."
     Since its establishment in December 2017, the progress of various initiatives by the Advisory Committee is summarised as below:
Mental health promotion and public education
     The Advisory Committee has launched a mental health promotion and public education initiative named "Shall We Talk" since July 2020 to enhance public knowledge about mental health, encourage members of the public to seek timely help and treatment, and reduce the public's misunderstanding towards persons with mental health needs. The Government has earmarked a recurrent annual funding of $50 million to implement the initiative. Besides, "Shall We Talk" has strengthened the provision of COVID-19-related mental health information and support through channels such as the one-stop mental health website (shallwetalk.hk/), television and social media. 
Strengthening community mental health support
     In the light of the epidemic's impact on the mental health of the public, the Government announced in the 2020 Policy Address that it would earmark $300 million under the Beat Drugs Fund to subsidise the implementation of mental health initiatives in order to strengthen community support and raise public awareness of mental health. The Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme (Funding Scheme) co-ordinated by the Advisory Committee was launched in July last year and implemented in two phases. A total of about $100 million has been granted to 70 mental health-related projects in January this year under Phase 1 of the Funding Scheme. Details of Phase 2 of the Funding Scheme will be announced in early July this year.
Mental health prevalence surveys
     To assist the Government in planning mental health services, the FHB commissioned universities to conduct territory-wide mental health prevalence surveys on persons of different age groups (including children and adolescents, adults and the elderly). Phase 1 of the surveys has commenced to collect data on prevalence rate and understanding the causes and recovery elements, etc. The relevant surveys are expected to be completed by the first half of next year. 
Child and adolescent mental health
     In the 2016/17 school year, the FHB, in collaboration with the HA, the EDB and the SWD, launched the Student Mental Health Support Scheme (SMHSS) based on a medical-education-social collaboration model. Under the SMHSS, a multi-disciplinary team comprising a psychiatric nurse of the HA, a designated teacher and a school social worker was formed in each participating school. The team worked closely with the psychiatric team of the HA, the school-based educational psychologist, relevant teachers and social workers from social service units concerned to provide support to students with mental health needs at school. The five clusters of the HA which offer child and adolescent psychiatric services have joined the SMHSS, and the coverage of the SMHSS has expanded from 17 schools in the 2016/17 school year to 210 schools in the 2021/22 school year.
     Besides, the Advisory Committee led the formation of the Expert Group on New Service Protocol for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (the Expert Group) to review the service model of mental health services tailored for children and adolescents. The Expert Group launched the Pilot Scheme on New Service Protocol for Child and Adolescent with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Comorbidity (Pilot Scheme) in March last year, providing timely assessment, support and intervention in the community for children and adolescents with ADHD through a cross-sector and multi-disciplinary team that comprises personnel such as clinical psychologists, advanced practice nurses, occupational therapists and social workers. As at the end of May this year, the Pilot Scheme has provided services for around 600 children and adolescents.
Elderly mental health
     The FHB, joining forces with the SWD and the HA, launched the Dementia Community Support Scheme (DCSS) as a pilot programme from 2017 to 2019, providing support services to elderly persons with mild to moderate dementia and their carers in the community. As the DCSS was well received by both service providers and service users, the Advisory Committee supported the continuation of the DCSS, which was regularised since February 2019 and expanded to all seven clusters of the HA and 41 District Elderly Community Centres in May of the same year.
     The Advisory Committee is chaired by Mr Wong Yan-lung, SC. Its non-official members include 25 individuals from the medical, social service and education sectors, a person in recovery, carers, a representative from the Equal Opportunities Commission, as well as lay persons who are concerned with mental health while its official members include representatives from the FHB, the LWB, the EDB, the DH, the SWD and the HA. The Advisory Committee advises the Government on mental health policies, including the adoption of a more integrated and comprehensive approach to tackle multi-faceted mental health issues in Hong Kong, assisting the Government in developing relevant policies, strategies and measures, as well as following up on and monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the Mental Health Review Report with a view to enhancing mental health services in Hong Kong. The membership list of the Advisory Committee is set out on the webpage of the FHB: www.fhb.gov.hk/en/committees/acmh/membership.html.
Ends/Thursday, June 9, 2022
Issued at HKT 23:42
Today's Press Releases  


The Food and Health Bureau today (June 9) convened the 25th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health. Photo shows the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan (front row, seventh left); the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health, Mr Wong Yan-lung (front row, seventh right); the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Health), Mr Thomas Chan (front row, sixth right); the Director of Health, Dr Ronald Lam (front row, sixth left); and members before the meeting.