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Hong Kong has seen an increase in the demand for mental health care, given COVID-19 and the subsequent social and economic impact.

In a survey conducted by Mind HK, 43% of people reported that their mental health had worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost half of respondents (49%) reported feeling lonely. In addition, 21% of those with personal experience of mental health concerns reporting that they had difficulty in accessing mental health support or treatment.

To support those most in need and affected by COVID-19, Mind HK has launched three mental health initiatives with the support of Goldman Sachs' Gives for Hong Kong. 

Mind HK debuted 'Help Me', an online virtual assistant available 24/7 in English and traditional Chinese. In its pilot year, Help Me uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make access to mental health information and support easier and available to the Hong Kong public.

In partnership with a group of qualified clinicians across Hong Kong’s private and public practices, Mind HK will coordinate and offer short-term pro bono mental health support to those that have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those most vulnerable – low income groups and those in quarantine centres or hospitalised. The bbilingual support will consist of free one-to-one remote sessions to help individuals manage stress and look after their wellbeing.

Additional COVID-19 mental health education resources will be launched in the coming months. The new guidelines and support material will provide insights and tips on managing mental health, specific to the hardships many Hongkongers are facing due to the pandemic.

“Since March 2020, we have trained 1105 people in 'Managing MentalHealth during COVID-19', published general COVID-19 wellbeing tips in 10 languages, and developed workplace and school specific resources to aid the general public during transition periods. Our additional initiatives will further enable us to deliver services that respond directly to the current needs of our community and ensure those with a mental health problem receive the support they deserve,” said Hannah Reidy, CEO of Mind HK. 

Photo/ The Temple News