A hard-hitting study by the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong has revealed the toll the mental health of the city’s workforce, with almost nine out of ten reporting stress or anxiety.
Unsurprisingly, the three most affected workers are from the medical, catering and tourism sectors as Hong Kong continues to grapple with the ongoing public health crisis triggered by the third wave COVID-19.
Of the employees interviewed (801 in May and June), 87% exhibited symptoms of stress, with 13% admitted to feelings of hopelessness, upset and worry – and also reported trouble sleeping.
The survey also stated that 43% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety disorder, including a sense of unease or nervousness – while 8% experienced moderate anxiety and 1% severe anxiety respectively.
Dr Joey Chan Wing-yan, associate professor at Chinese University’s department of psychiatry urged employers to take the stress concerns of employees seriously.
“In the short term, it can motivate you to tackle or overcome a challenge. But if it begins interfering with your daily life, it may indicate a more serious issue,” she told the SCMP.
The survey also revealed that the main causes of stress were physical health (73%), worry about income or job security (66%), and concerns over the ongoing pandemic (54%).
In terms of stress relief, the most common activities by respondents were sleeping (80%), exercising (70%) and leisure activities (64%).
According to Fritz Wong, an education officer at the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong, in the interest of reducing stress, companies can to incorporate more family-friendly policies to help ease the burden on their team – including encouraging employees to work from home, reducing workloads, not requesting that staff to do overtime and avoiding sending work-related emails to employees while they are off duty.