Having the new challenges in the "post-COVID" era in mind, NLPRA has just humbly hosted a 3-day Mental Health Symposium from March 15th to 17th, as well as the announcement of the research results of "330 Well-Being Index". The symposium theme is "Change and Challenge: From Recovery to Holistic Well-being". It aims to provide a timely platform for government officials, experts and other people who care about mental health in Hong Kong. Through 16 sessions covering 7 wide-ranging dialogue on mental health topics, while embracing changes and meeting challenges, the symposium has explored how to forge the way forward and better meet the ever-changing social needs, and to promote the holistic 330 well-being for all.
There were more than 1,300 registered participants in the symposium with most of them attended online. All the delegates enjoyed a valuable and productive event. Prof. Annie TAM Kam-lan, GBS, JP, Chairperson of Executive Committee, NLPRA delivered the opening remarks. She reviewed the 58-year journey of NLPRA's culture and services. Prof. Annie TAM hopes to promote the reform of mental health services, not only for the people in recovery but also for everyone in the community. "We will continue to develop new initiatives and explore how a multi-sector approach may help to drive the 'Transforming health care for all'. The symposium created a platform to explore the innovative mindset and challenges of mental health in a changing 'Post-COVID' environment with government officials, scholars, professionals, and service users."
Secretary for Health Prof. LO Chung-mau, BBS, JP, delivered the opening keynote speech on "Mental Health Services in Hong Kong". Prof. LO stated that NLPRA is the government's most important partner in mental health, and expressed his gratitude to NLPRA on behalf of the government and Hong Kong people. Prof. LO said: "Holistic Well-being is an important issue for the Hong Kong Government, especially confronting the challenges of the 'New Normal' from the post pandemic." He also shared some government's work on mental health, such as "Shall We Talk", The Mental Health Workplace Charter, "Pilot Scheme for ADHD+" and "Dementia Community Support Scheme".
New Life also held a press briefing to introduce the " Well-being Index" and announce its research results. New Life and Professor Patrick Wing-leung LEUNG, Director of Graduate Studies in Clinical Psychology of The Chinese University of Hong Kong have conducted subsequent studies on the "Comprehensive Well-Being Scale" (Sham, Yeung, Mak & Powell, 2021), which validated the CWBS can be applied to the general public. Professor LEUNG mentioned, "The CWBS was found to correlate not only issues of distress such as anxiety, depression, psychological distress, physical symptoms and alienation, but also other important indices of well-being and items relating to strengths and values such as resilience, meanings of life, optimism, compassionate love, social connectedness, universalism, and self-transcendence."
A total of 1,020 valid questionnaires were collected in the community for the study on CWBS in January 2023. According to the Population Census, a stratified sampling method based on sex, age, and education level was conducted to ensure the representativeness of the community sample. The  Well-Being Index can be obtained after individuals fill out the questionnaire. The calculated total score is classified into one of the 3 categories: A total score of 65 or below indicates one's level of well-being to be below average. A total score of 66-78 indicates an average level of well-being. A total score of 79 or above indicates one's level of well-being to be above average. Research findings revealed 25% of samples attained a CWBS score of 65 or below. These individuals may need to seek professional assistance for further assessment and advice. " Well-Being Index" assessment website has already been launched (https://wellbeingindex.dayday330.hk). The general public are welcome to take the questionnaire as a preliminary self-assessment of one's overall well-being. NLPRA will provide suitable recommendations on how to take good care of one's 330 wellness and maintain a positive attitude to face various challenges in life.
At the closing session, Mr. Chris SUN Yuk-han, JP, Secretary for Labour and Welfare delivered a speech on "Future of Mental Health Services" in Hong Kong. Mr. SUN expressed that mental health services are facing 4 challenges in the future: the aging population, the needs of caregivers, higher education levels, and post-COVID recovery. "In the past 3 years, due to fighting the pandemic and social distancing measures, the mental distress of a considerable number of citizens may have increased significantly. Having a long period of online classes and a lack of social interaction, some youngsters may become hidden youths, or have extra emotional needs. In the future, we must keep pace with the times and do our best to provide rehabilitation services and appropriate support for people with mental health needs, and help them integrate into society. As President Xi Jinping mentioned in his speech at the 20th National Congress, we hope that the majority of disabled people should live and work in peace and contentment, with no worries about food and clothing, and live a happy and beautiful life."