The shocking picture of mental health in Hong Kong was revealed to a packed audience of students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) as part of their #DMUglobal trip.
The students from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (HLS), who covered a variety of disciplines from mental health and children’s nursing to criminology and psychology, had their eyes opened to the desperate issues affecting Hong Kong with a talk by eminent psychiatrist Dr Sunny Liu.
The trip to the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the University of Hong Kong was just one of many educational trips HLS students were able to experience during their stay.
Dr Liu revealed that Hong Kong has around 1,000 suicides every year and a lot of the mental health problems are due to the stresses of living in the main city.
Property prices are at a premium, rent is sky-high in an already cramped area and it creates huge amounts of stress among people worried about being able to afford to live in the area.
Dr Liu said it was “terrifying” the number of professionals who cannot afford spacious rooms let alone people on lower wages.
He also revealed how psychiatrists see around 40 patients per half day leaving no resource or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and referrals to mental health nurses to take on the task can take up to 12 months.
The Centre was set up 15 years ago in response to the high suicide rates – and it is making a difference.
Dr Liu encouraged the students to remain positive, remain committed and passionate and help make a change for mental health.
Harvey Noble, second year Criminology, said: “I did not know quite what to expect but it was excellent.
“It was…well…strange. The fact they do not seem to be able to do anything about a mental health crisis, or rather they know how bad the situation is but they cannot seem to change it.
“I found it fascinating that they were talking about housing being a factor in suicide rates and a psychiatrist with his own practise cannot even afford to live in Hong Kong and has a house on a different island. It makes you wonder who all the people are that live in Hong Kong.”
Irum Bashir, second year Psychology and Criminology, said: “It is such an eye-opening experience. It is amazing to see two different cultures and two different governments tackling the same problems in different ways.”
Rishi Sunair, second year Criminal Investigations, said: “This talk really puts stuff into perspective. You really do value the NHS and its service. I won’t take it for granted.”
Aimee Jackson, second year Children’s Nursing, added: “There is a public service in Hong Kong but a lot of doctors have gone private to earn more money. The housing and social problems are obviously affecting mental health and there are problems here. It was fascinating.”
Posted on Friday 23rd March 2018