Media’s Commitment in Suicide Prevention remains Strong!

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There have been devastating suicide news we regretted to learn just shortly after we set foot in 2016. May we first take this opportunity to send our deepest condolence to the family of the deceased and be reminded there are community resources for those who’re in need. On the other side though, it is gratifying to see the media have changed from extensive reporting of suicide cases in the past to a simpler and more objective manner nowadays. The vast majority of these articles also contain professional advices and helplines resources. These not only reflect the changes in media professionals, it also shows the society as a whole is taking steps toward a more loving, caring, and empathetic community. All these require hard work from different stakeholders within the community, and they require even more hard work to maintain this achievement.

Comparing with Western countries, suicide news in Hong Kong are reported much more frequently. We have constantly urged local media to report suicide news responsibly, but by no means, we attempted to forbid the report of any suicide news. We are truly aware that just like any news, ones that involve with public interest should be reported by the media. We have also encouraged local media to investigate and discuss thoroughly about the impact of society in suicide incidents, subsequently raise the public awareness in suicide prevention. Nevertheless, most suicide news reported weren’t a matter of public interest, rather it became a mean to further harm the deceased and their family. It also encouraged stigmatisation towards a particular group of people (e.g. psychiatric patients) or places (e.g. estate being named as the “estate of death”). There are more and more research pointing out that suicide news may lead to copycat acts on those who are vulnerable, creating a devastating vicious cycle within the society.

Our centre introduced the WHO Suicide Media Guideline to Hong Kong media professionals in 2004. Sadly, the introduction of the media guideline was not as effective as we thought it would be. Through engagement with several media professionals, we see media professionals uphold a sense of commitment in improving the society through the media. However, due to the lack of knowledge on how news report can be a potential risk factor for suicide and the urge to chase after more “exciting” news, they sometimes negated the fact that these suicide news articles can be damaging to vulnerable individuals.

In order to tackle this problem, we started to change our strategy in approaching media professionals and work hand-in-hand with local media. Under the support from the University’s Knowledge Exchange Fund, we are able to monitor suicide news articles in a daily basis. We will contact the editors and request for amendments if we discover a problematic article that might cause harm to any individuals or public. Having said that, we emphasise that we respect and treasure the freedom of press, with no intention whatsoever to influence the independence of any media professionals. We, however, hopes to recommend and discuss on such matter solely base on humanitarian and social responsibility perspective. This healthy engagement have not only created a platform for constructive communication between media and us, the media have also responded to our concerns very positively. An even more heartening news is that some media professionals are willing to take the initiative to learn more about the latest research findings and movement on suicide preventions and actively promote suicide preventions to the public, not waiting for another tragic to strike.

All in all, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the all media professionals and local media for their contribution in the works of suicide prevention. Through this precious chance, we hope to reiterate the three basic principles of reporting suicide news. Firstly, avoid reporting suicide news if it does not involve the public interest. Secondly, please take consideration of the mental status of high risk group when reporting suicide. Lastly, media professionals should practice self-care and pluck up their courage to seek help when needed. The media is our most precious gateway of information. We are grateful for your professionalism in delivering news to the society. A call to all medial professional: keep your empathy, and more importantly uphold your commitment in improving the society. We are confident that the media will continue to serve great contribution in suicide prevention!

This article in chinese with heading 不忘初心 傳媒可為預防自殺做出積極貢獻 was published by MingPao@A29 on 20 Jan 2016. Read by following this link.

Press Conference – From Compensation to Rehabilitation
不止賠償 更要「重返工作」

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From Compensation to Rehabilitation

A Social Review of the Employees’ Compensation Insurance System in Hong Kong
Research Findings Release

In Hong Kong, about 200 fatal and 55,000 to 60,000 non-fatal cases resulting from work-related accidents and diseases have been recorded each year. Occupational rehabilitation with an emphasis on early and comprehensive intervention immediately after injuries has demonstrated to be the international best practice in disability management post occupational injuries. The practice, however, has not beenProfessor Paul Yip listened attentively during the Q&A session widely adopted in Hong Kong. To have an understanding of the underlying reasons, the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP), Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has conducted a consultancy project jointly with the Employees’ Compensation Insurance Residual Scheme Bureau (ECIRSB) to review the Employees’ Compensation system for local workers.

The CSRP held a press conference on 14 Dec 2015 to release its latest research findings and recommendations from the project on restoring the well-being of injured workers. Press release is available in both English and Chinese. The Powerpoint presentation is available in Chinese.

At the press conference, Professor Paul Yip presented the latest statistics on work-related deaths and injuries in Hong Kong, and on compensation insurance claims, such as the demographic characteristics of the workers who filed insurance claims, the types of common injuries, and number of working days lost from injury. He also spoke about the major problems in the current system, namely a compensation-focused culture and the physical and psychological barriers that hinder the success of return-to-work for injured workers, such as stress from family and employers, and the loss of self-esteem. Recognizing the challenges encountered by injured workers on the road of recovery, professor Yip stressed the importance of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies and called for a collaborative effort of building a worker-centered system.

DSC00037Doctor Sheung Wai Law, an honorary clinical associate professor from the Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), shared a success story of implementing a multidisciplinary rehabilitation model with the focus on early intervention – the  Multidisciplinary Orthopedics Rehabilitation Empowerment (MORE) Programme. This programme has demonstrated great success in facilitating early and safe return-to-work for injured workers. With the positive impacts brought by the MORE programme, the project hopes to initiate efforts of expanding the programme, so more injured workers can gain access.

Last but not least, the CSRP would like to express gratitude to all the stakeholders who contributed to the project and those who provided utmost support for the project’s effort in propelling meaningful changes for workers health and social well-being of Hong Kong.

World Mental Health Day 2015

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全人健康:尊重與關愛 / Holistic Health: Respect and Care

撰稿:鄭雅心 / By Mabel Cheng

本年度世界精神健康日(World Mental Health Day)的主題為精神健康與尊嚴。對於健康,社會向來很重視。坊間處處都能找到預防生理疾病及養生的資訊,唯獨是忽視了成就全人健康的另一重要元素:精神及心理健康。情緒病在東方文化中可算是個大眾忌諱的話題。每提起情緒病,總會有人覺得不安、避而不談、或對患者有先入為主的負面評價,而造成歧視等問題。這是因為大多數人對於情緒病都有所誤解,認為患上情緒病的人必定是「壞人」、「心理變態」、或是「極度負面」、「失去理智」的人。無可否認這些負面的標籤在不知不覺間剝削了精神病人應得到的公平對待。本年度的主題–尊嚴,所指的正正就是當事人自身的價值和被尊重的權利。






心See 180 青少年精神健康計劃


Holistic Health: Respect and Care

Healthy diets, nutrition, and exercises seem to be hot topics in our daily lives. Tips on maintaining physical health are often widely spread across the world. However, another important element of holistic wellbeing – mental health, is often neglected in many cultures. One of the main reasons is that mental illnesses are being stigmatized all over the world. People tend to associate negative labels with mental illness, such as violence, irrationality, insanity, and sometimes poverty and the lack of education, and so on. In fact, mental illness is like a fever of your mind; it happens when your mental state is weak and the external stress level is high. Everyone has an equal chance in suffering from mental illness. Data has shown that one in four people suffer from mental health problems at some point over the course of their lives.

With the misconception and stigma around mental disorders, people with mental illnesses often receive unequal treatment in the community, such as the lack of job opportunities, respect from others, and in most extreme case, the human right to make their own decisions of who they want to be. These people bear a lot on their own, including the pain from events triggering their emotional turmoil, side effects of treatment, and the unequal treatment from society. The path of recovery is full of challenges, as many forget they have the right to be respected too.

The theme of 2015 World Mental Health Day is dignity. It is a good time to enhance the awareness of mental health and to ponder what could be done to protect the human rights and dignity of the sufferers of mental health conditions. Let’s start with individual efforts – judge less, care more.

For more information on mental health:

Depressed Little Prince

Press Conference WSPD 2015 – Update

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CSRP marked the World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) 2015 with a press conference on Sept 9. Besides speaking to the latest suicide statistics in Hong Kong, the director of CSRP, Professor Paul Yip, highlighted youths mental health problems in his address this year.  In response to the theme for WSPD this year, “Reaching Out & Inspiring Lives”, two youths and their social workers were invited to speak about their experiences with online outreach services targeted at youths. With support by their social workers, the two youths were able to overcome their psychological barriers to seek help and face challenges head on. Both youth clients made great progress since they started receiving support, and are now passing on the message of hope to others. The speakers’ experiences were inspiring to many to do their part in reaching out and saving lives.

Press Conference – WSPD 2015

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Reaching Out & Inspiring Lives
2015 World Suicide Prevention Day Press Conference

September 10th is the World Suicide Prevention Day. The HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) will hold a press conference on September 9 (Wednesday) with theme “Reaching Out and Inspiring Lives”. The press conference is co-organized by the Boys and Girls Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BGCA) and Caritas Youth and Community Service. The full press release is available for download in Chinese and English.

Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, Director of the Centre, will at the conference present the latest suicide statistics for Hong Kong, and talk about new strategies for suicide prevention and intervention by better allocation of community resources. The presentation aims to promote public awareness and respect for the needs of people in society, and to encourage acts of reaching out and helping others. Two youths who had had suicidal thoughts will share on how they finally overcame the mental barrier to seek help from others, and how they have worked to help people in return. Their social workers will talk about services for youths.

The CSRP is calling on all sectors of society to care about people with different needs and help bring hope to life.

Date: September 9, 2015 (Wednesday)
Time: 2 pm (Media registration starts at 1:30 pm).
Venue: Studio 1, 2/F, HKJC Building for Interdisciplinary Research, 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, HK
Language: Cantonese (English is available for Q&A session).

Speakers (By alphabetical order of the surnames):

Ah Ho (Alias, Service user)
LUI, Humphrey (Counsellor, The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong)
Wang Shue (Alias, Service user)
WONG, Eddie (Registered Social Worker, Caritas – Hong Kong Cyber Youth Outreaching Project – Infinity Teens)
YIP, Paul (Director, CSRP HKU)

Presentation at press conference is available for download in Chinese and English .


2:00 – 2:05 Professor Paul Yip releases the latest suicide rates in Hong Kong
2:05 – 2:35 Youths share experiences of battling suicidal ideation with social support. Their social workers share views on reaching out to those in need.
2:35 – 2:45 Professor Yip releases the centre’s recent research findings including:

  • Ÿ   Hong Kong youth’s mental health problems
  • Ÿ   The relationship between suicide and allocation of community resources
2:45 – 3:15 Q&A session

About the Co-organizers

The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BGCA) was founded in 1936. With the mission “Nurture the Young Create the Future’, the Association strives to provide children, youth and their families with various and professional services to nurture their growth. The Association will continue to strive and to create a child-friendly environment for the children and youth. As one of the most reputable NGOs in Hong Kong, we have 75 service units located across the territory and on the mainland, having over 51,226 registered members with 848,267 core attendance.

Caritas Youth and Community Service (CYCS) carries the mission to foster holistic development in the youth and the community through understanding, caring, participating and undertaking of responsibilities. CYCS encourages the youth to participate and build up a sense of responsibility to themselves and the community. This promotes mutual aid and eventually integration in the community. To realize its mission, CYCS provides a wide range of services for children, adolescents and the community at large. Examples include, Community Centres, Integrated Service Centres for Young People, District Youth Outreaching Social Work Services, Children and Youth Centres, School Social Work Services, School Support Services, Counselling Centres for Psychotropic Substance Abusers, Libraries and Study Rooms and After School Care Programme.

For media enquiries, please call Mr. Rickey YAU at (Tel) 2831 5232, or send email to