Open Care, Open Heart 開心 • 關心 • 同理心

Institution

The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK)

Team Members

Tang Ho Lam (Project Leader)
Lai Chui Han
Chan Yin Pui
Chow Pui Wa
Ng Yee Man
Wong Ming Wai, Jochebed
Yiu Tze Kwan
Chung Siu Tung
Kwok Tze Chun
Mak Chi Ho

Professional Advisor

Yu Lai Hang, James
Assistant Professor
The Open University of Hong Kong

Background

As the team hoped to promote mental health awareness, they together planned and held a variety of activities focusing on mental health and wellbeing. They also introduced stress coping strategies and encouraged help-seeking behavior among students.

Objective

The project aimed to encourage OUHK students to pay attention to mental health and suicide prevention. The information about risk factors of suicide, mental disorders, and stress-reducing methods were provided. The team expected these knowledge and information can be transferred among students through different activities.

Methodology

The team organized four booths on the campus across the school term. All booths were held for several days to a week. The first booth was based on the theme “prevent suicide and encourage help-seeking”, where risk factors of suicide were introduced to students who passed by the booth. Help-seeking methods and hotlines were also provided. Visitors were encouraged to share their problems and questions about suicide on the “Sharing board”. Souvenirs were given to each passed by visitors, including a badge with the project’s logo and bookmarks with encouraging messages after visiting the booth. Questionnaires were also distributed before and after the event to evaluate visitors’ knowledge of suicide risk factors and help-seeking. In the second booth, the team presented a 5 minutes microfilm to introduce suicide risk factors and possible solutions. It was played repeatedly on campus’s televisions. A “sharing board” was also placed in the booth, where students were allowed to share their feelings or similar experiences related to the microfilm. A busking event was held during the third booth presentation. The team believed playing music would enable students to relax within the campus. The final booth included a board displaying different stress-relieving methods, in aim of promoting the importance of understanding stress and its ways of relieving.

Impacts and Outcomes

In this project, the team designed and conducted a total of four mental health-related booths that clearly appealed to and benefited their target group: all students at the Open University of Hong Kong, Ho Man Tin campus during the Spring semester of 2018.

In the first booth, students who visited were given the opportunity to understand the public misconceptions about suicide through the exhibition boards and games. In the second booth, psychology students and creative arts students in the team collaborated to develop a microfilm that portrayed the college students’ common stressors and demonstrated various effective ways to help them deal with these obstacles. At the same time, their booth also provided a game for students to learn more about psychological disorders, such as symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The first two booths benefited the target group in terms of enhancing their awareness and knowledge about mental disorders, stressors and solutions to cope with stress.

In the third booth, young musicians were invited to play encouraging and life-inspiring music and songs. Meanwhile, more games were introduced at the booth for students to learn more about some stress relieving methods in the fourth booth. Throughout the whole project period, they provided a“sharing board” for students to share their feelings and reflections about various mental health themes featured in their booths. Students who visited the booth were given an opportunity to send their best regards and cheering-up messages to others on the sharing board, as well as using the gifts they received from playing our games (e.g., inspiring bookmarks; stress balls) to send to their good friends and family members.

The project objectives were well-met, including increasing OUHK students’ attention to suicide prevention and mental illnesses in general. The final survey showed that students who were exposed to their booths are now paying more attention to mental health issues and suicide problems while understanding more about the importance of coping skills and different ways for stress relief and for supporting their at-risk friends.

Number of Beneficiaries

10200 students