Friday, 20 January 2017

Hong Kong Getting More Depressed

Hong Kong seems to have more depressed people since about three years ago
There are concerns there may be a growing number of depressed people in Hong Kong. According to a survey by the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong -- a non-profit group funded largely by the government -- says around 5.5 percent of 2,351 people show signs of clinical depression, almost double the number in 2014.

In addition, 9.1 percent of respondents scored a medium level on the depression index, which means they should be monitored for depression, up 8.6 percent in 2014.

Ching Chi-kong, an assistant director of the association, believes people had an outlet to voice their frustrations during the 79-day Occupy protests.

The 2014 Occupy protests allowed people to let off steam
"At that time, people had somewhere to express their anger and they may have hoped for change," he said. "If we think we lost something, we will get depressed more easily."

Another factor, suggests Dr Benjamin Lai, psychiatrist and chairman of the association, is the economic downturn that could contribute to "a high chance of depressive symptoms".

But look more closely at the survey results and 35.8 percent of respondents did no exercise for at least 30 minutes during the week, and only 18.1 percent did so only once a week.

"We need a balance in life, so it's not just about money or work," Ching said.

The Hospital Authority estimates about 1.7 million people suffer from various mental illnesses, but wait times for mental health treatment were the longest of all public health services. This is partly because there aren't enough trained psychiatrists and psychologists in the public sector.

Exercise is a good way to relieve depression and stress
The economic downturn has made it harder for people in Hong Kong. There are constant fears of being made redundant because companies are concerned about their bottom line, and there are fewer opportunities for people because some may be holding onto whatever work they have even though they may not be happy in the position.

No wonder so many don't have time for exercise, but just some movement for 30 minutes a day would alleviate some of the stress and rush of endorphins could people feel a bit better about themselves and manage their stress better.

It's tense times in Hong Kong -- for pretty much this entire year. We can't feel sorry for ourselves, or commiserate -- there's no time really. We have to have that can-do attitude and keep pushing forward.

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