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 mental health issues in hong kong

Mental Health Monitoring in Hong Kong: How CSRP saves lives by listening

Fiona Lo

Dec 21, 2023

Table of Contents

The current state of mental health in Hong Kong

"How are you?"

Asking this question nowadays carries a different weight than it did in the past. Until recently, a certain stigma has come with talking about how we feel. Admitting one's difficulties is traditionally considered a sign of weakness, resulting in the haunting fears of helplessness from an imagined audience.

All too often, even small events particularly impact our emotional well-being. Social media heavily influences our worldview daily and is relevant to the point that it can dictate certain life choices.

What can we do about it when the world is as connected as ever? As much as social media has been helping us feel connected, it has sometimes also made us feel incredibly alone.

Tip: Learn more about social media statistics in Hong Kong, download our free Insight Brief Report: Hello Hong Kong, andake a look at the top Instagram Influencers in Hong Kong to find the right influencers to partner with.

World Suicide Prevention Day in Hong Kong amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Unfortunately, the painful reason mental health has been pushed to the spotlight is the COVID-19 pandemic's disastrous effects. The World Suicide Prevention day press conference held by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) could not have come at a better time, drawing attention to the growing chatter on mental health concerns. There was an effort to raise people's consciousness about the issue by sharing insightful social analysis of the factors contributing to the rise in reported incidents of self-harm.

A worrisome statistic from Coroners Court (2000 - 2021) presented during the conference was how suicide rates among those aged 15 and younger had grown dramatically in recent years, demonstrating the seriousness of this generation's worsening mental health. Many of today's youth are fearful, furious, and worried about the future due to the disturbance to their routines. Academic stress, irregular leisure, and family conflict have all been heavy sets of baggage they need to carry along with the struggles of growing up.

Illustration of people wearing masks

Why are children in Hong Kong suffering from mental health issues?

Field trips, peaceful walks around campus, proms, festivals, spontaneous evenings out, and other in-person activities where students may catch up with friends and enjoy the routine and beauty of school life have been cancelled. A bright future full of dreams has been put in shambles due to the uncertainty of a "lost" year. Children who were once bright-eyed and full of hope now wear sunglasses to shield their eyes from the unrelenting light of the virus.

Family issues have also been a fundamental cause of the mental health struggles faced by this demographic. Whether it be feelings of unreasonable educational expectations, disagreements and disputes on small things such as gadget use, or even second-hand effects on previous family suicide attempts, the problems have often begun within one's household.

Disconcertingly, some youth have been led to believe that their birth was a "mistake". Aside from this, a hostile connection with one's mother has been a common theme among fundamental attitudes relating to family concerns.

The importance of family in adolescent suicide prevention

Ironically, the role of the family is incredibly crucial during these trying times, as parents are an adolescent's first line of defence and an easily accessible suicide hotline against mental health issues. Data from the World Suicide Prevention Day press conference has shown that parents immensely contribute to the fight against suicide by providing social support and guiding their children on stress management. 

Nourishing an environment where it’s more acceptable to discuss worries is a first-aid measure for their child's mental health. Awareness of a change in behaviour on the outside, even if it's only a slight shift in daily routines or mood, is a cue to start a dialogue. Career planning is also a meaningful way to decrease anxiety, allowing the youth to discern and know what to expect as they grow up through these turbulent times.

Mental Health Monitoring: How CSRP prevents suicide in Hong Kong

Mental health has been continually driven into the public’s attention in Hong Kong - and rightfully so - with influential role models such as athletes and celebrities coming out and admitting such struggles on social media. On top of this, research facilities and other institutions have been aiming to increase public awareness of these issues and the need to take action, providing services such as mental health counselling.

One such institution is the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, also known as CSRP. As a client of ours, they've been dedicated to identifying at-risk youth to prevent suicide. Using the tools Meltwater provides, they've been able to track mentions and sentiments of suicide around Hong Kong and spread awareness as soon as early warning signs are detected.

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A Meltwater case study: Hong Kong social intelligence 

From 2021 to 2022, Meltwater's social listening tool has shown that the number of mentions of World Mental Health Day in Hong Kong has increased significantly, from 174,000 to 365,000, with over 47% positive sentiments. The country’s media has gradually caught up to the worldwide buzz on mental health awareness. However, NGOs, rather than businesses, have been making the most of the effort.

Furthermore, Meltwater's social intelligence data shows workers' concerns about their work-life balance have increased in recent months, especially compared to their British counterparts.

97% of Hong Kong employees felt overworked, 87% felt stressed, 40% felt apprehensive about the future, and many considered leaving their jobs. Social media analysis reveals an alarmingly high level of resonance with workers' chatter about their jobs - they are weary and irritated. In some extreme cases, many end up taking their own lives.

Tip: Read the full Meltwater x CSRP case study

How CSRP utilizes Meltwater to boost mental health in Hong Kong

The vast majority of CSRP's time is devoted to information collection related to the chatter of suicide. They efficiently gather real-time data using Meltwater's social listening and media monitoring solutions, ensuring maximum exposure of their information. Publishing this knowledge, thereby effectively disseminating it to their target audiences, such as educators, public officials, and social workers, helps them reach their primary goal of spreading mental health awareness and preventing suicide.

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Using Meltwater's platform and social keyword listening tools, CSRP can track and analyse entities and issues related to suicide ideation on social media and forums. Through a database that records cases of suicide, as well as historical information on suicide, they can identify risk factors and strive to reduce them by alerting and educating appropriate authorities and stakeholders. CSRP's suicide now-casting model has improved due to their all-in-one subscription to Meltwater's customised solutions.

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Data is more than just a number - it’s a life

The significance of data analytics powered by social chatter cannot be overstated in today's rapidly evolving digital environment. Socially responsible organisations like CSRP have benefited from using these technologies to track social chatters in the same way companies have benefited from using them for their initiatives.

Being able to draw meaningful conclusions from data points further emphasises that there is a bigger picture behind each digit than an addition to the total number of suicide cases.

Learn how you can benefit from our solutions as well by filling out the form below.