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Where to find mental health resources in Hong Kong

By Inés Fung 7 December 2019
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for a lot of people who struggle with mental health problems, it may very well be one of the loneliest times of the year. Naturally, these struggles aren’t limited to just one short period of time, especially with the number of stressors experienced by those of us in Hong Kong. According to an annual study organised by the Mental Health Month Organising Committee, conducted by the Chinese University and surveying over 1,000 Hongkongers over the age of 15, the average mental health score this year was 46.41, the lowest it has ever been since 2012. The study measures mental wellness using the WHO Well-Being Index, with 52 being the passing score. However, what was once a taboo is slowly becoming more mainstream, and with the rise in demand and support, there are more and more conversations surrounding mental health in Hong Kong. If you or someone you know has been looking into getting help, we’ve compiled this guide to mental health services that are available in Hong Kong. Please note that this guide does not claim to be exhaustive and we only desire to help point our readers in the right direction if they are seeking help. Take care of yourself and your loved ones!

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If you, or someone you know, are experiencing suicidal thoughts or require emergency assistance, help is available.

Call the hotlines below or 999 for immediate attention.

Source: Centre for Health Protection Hong Kong

 Can’t call? The Hong Kong Society of Counselling and Psychology also provides a bilingual WhatsApp hotline at (+852) 6218 1084.


Public resources

Hospital Authority

To receive medical assistance at the public hospitals or clinics that offer psychiatric services for any psychiatric issues, you first need to be referred from your GP or family healthcare professional. A full list of primary care providers can be found here. A meeting with a specialist can then be arranged, and then a triage determination of urgency. The waiting time for a referral to outpatient services at a psychiatry specialist outpatient clinic, as of the writing of this article, can be found below:
Source: Hospital Authority
If your case is urgent and requires immediate attention, you may check yourself into any public hospital via A&E or by calling 999. You will either be voluntarily admitted (by giving consent) or involuntarily committed (under doctors’ orders). If you have specialised issues, you may be referred to Castle Peak Hospital, which provides treatment for substance abuse as well as mental health problems for children, adolescents, and the elderly in Hong Kong. If you or someone you know are between the ages of 15 to 25 and may be experiencing symptoms of psychosis, the Hospital Authority offers the Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis (EASY) Programme. If psychosis is treated early, the chances of it becoming severe or turning into further complications are reduced. Contact the EASY hotline at (+852) 2928 3283 for public enquiries and case referrals. Seeking help via public hospitals and clinics is an affordable option if you do not require urgent care. Fee charts can be found here for reference.

Social Welfare Department

The Social Welfare Department provides free clinical psychology services. Call the 24-hour hotline at (+852) 2343 2255 if you require immediate assistance or to arrange a meeting, or visit the Integrated Family Services Centre in your district for a screening and referral to one of the six neighbourhood Clinical Psychology Units. If you’d just like to drop in for free mental wellness services, you can pay a visit to the Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness in your district. If you are struggling with substance abuse, the Department of Health operates a voluntary out-patient methadone treatment programme across districts in Hong Kong. The Social Welfare Department also subvents 11 counselling centres for psychotropic substance abusers and two centres for drug counselling. The Hospital Authority runs substance abuse clinics out of seven public hospitals.

Private resources

A comprehensive list of registered and practising psychiatrists in Hong Kong can be found here. Please note that if you decide to seek help in the private sector, fees range anywhere from $600 to $3,000 per session.

Counselling

You don’t have to suffer from mental illness to seek out therapy. Sometimes, it’s just nice to talk to someone who can give you an unbiased perspective on the issues that you’re stuck on, and help you to understand and cope while developing a plan to tackle these issues. St. John’s Cathedral Counselling Services and ReSource: The Counselling Centre are both non-denominational counselling centres that offer sliding scale fees and multilingual counselling for a range of issues like grief counselling and family group therapy. Central Minds is a private psychology, counselling, and physical therapy practice that provides high-quality care through integrated and personalised clinical therapy practice and treatment plans to meet individual needs. They also provide group workshops like Self-Care For Mums, a 6-week closed groups for mums struggling to prioritise or manage their own self-care needs to learn practical self-care strategies and work-life balance; as well as Sleep Strugglers, also a 6-week closed group for those with sleeping problems who seek an evidence-based clinical alternative to sleep meds. The Hong Kong Psychological Counselling Center is a trilingual private centre offering a range of psychiatric and psychological counselling services that can be arranged within seven days. In addition to basic therapy, they also offer art therapy, child IQ assessments, and online video call counselling services. The HKPCC is relatively affordable, even offering a special rate of $1,000 for their 50-minute therapy sessions, though this is only available to Cantonese speakers with a personal monthly income of $30,000 or less. Check out our previous round-up of counsellors in Hong Kong for more information.

Addictions

The Cabin Hong Kong is a specialist out-patient addiction treatment centre with locations in Hong Kong and Chiang Mai, Thailand. They provide discreet and confidential tackle types of addiction ranging from alcohol abuse to sex addiction. A full list of private voluntary in-patient drug rehabilitation programmes can be found here.
Read more! Explore the Wellness section on Localiiz.

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Inés Fung

Editor

Currently based in Hong Kong by way of Calgary, Inés has always had a passion for writing and her creative work can be found in obscure literary ’zines. When she’s not busy scouring the city for the best gin-based cocktail, she can be found curled up with her journal and fur-ever friend Peanut. Don’t be surprised if you cross paths with her and she already knows all your mates.

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