Youngsters need right tools to deal with depression

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 5:35pm

Like all Hong Kong citizens I feel saddened and shocked when I read about another suicide of a young person in Hong Kong.

I can only imagine the pain and sadness the families must go through in coming to terms with the tragedy. It is another senseless loss of a young life and we, in Hong Kong, now have a crucial choice ahead of us.

Do we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the blatant signs that there needs to be a seismic shift in the city’s attitude towards mental health? Or do we allow these recent tragedies to propel us into action to become a more open and accepting society that views mental health as just as important as our physical health?

Hopefully, Hong Kong will be doing the latter and joining the rest of the world in shifting the paradigm around mental health and well-being.

Michelle Obama is among those trying to inspire this change. She said, “We need to recognise that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and start treating it that way” in a campaign called Change Direction.

She was joined by the Duchess of Cambridge in a special campaign with the Huffington Post to support the awareness and understanding of mental health in young people called Young Minds Matter. These campaigns are key to changing the stigma around mental health, and it is reassuring to see such key global figures backing them.

The sad reality is that we can see the same patterns of youth depression and suicide across the globe, and this will only change when we open up conversations about mental health and give young people the tools to deal with the emotional storms of life.

We need to be proactive as a society. Hong Kong has an opportunity to pave the way to a healthier and happier society and lead by example by opening up the conversations around well-being through education and the media.

Hong Kong as to make the necessary changes now. As the Duchess of Cambridge said in her recent campaign in the Huffington Post, “Let’s make a real difference for an entire generation of young children.”

Alexa Massingham, Aberdeen