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Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 01:17

HK ranked 7th in mental healthcare treatment


HONG KONG – Hong Kong is ranked 7th in the Asia Pacific region in implementing effective mental health policies and assisting people with mental illnesses to integrate into society, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) announced on Monday.

The EIU undertook the research from March to May this year, comparing the mental health assistances provided in 15 economies in the Asia Pacific region, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Chinese mainland, Singapore and Australia.

The research covered four fields: The environment, opportunities, access to treatment and governance.

Hong Kong scored 65.7 on a scale of 100, ranking the seventh in the report. New Zealand, with a score of 94.7, topped the chart while Pakistan was placed at the bottom with 12.8. The Chinese mainland got 45.5, ranking the ninth.

Dan Yu Kin-sun, chief officer of the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong said Hong Kong’s score reflected the absence of a formal, overarching mental health policy, and coordination of medical and social services in the city.

The Hospital Authority adopted the Mental Health Service Plan for Adults in 2010 as a framework to guide the development and provision of adult mental health services.

Yu said what the plan offered were mostly fragmented measures, not a comprehensive policy which included not only services and funding, but also public education and mass campaigns.

Hong Kong is estimated to have 1.7 million people living with mental illness. Among them, 70,000 to 200,000 are considered to have severe conditions with only 1 percent thought to receive mental health treatment, according to the report.

Yu added that helping people with mental illness to integrate back into society is a long process. Public education and campaign would play an important role.

The report also noted that “the integration of people living with mental illness will ultimately depend on cultural acceptance and anti-stigma efforts, which need to be strengthened alongside the development of community-based infrastructure”.

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