Letters to the Editor, July 12, 2017
More resources needed to treat mental illness
On July 7, a Huffington Post article claimed the US was the worst place to have a mental illness, because of the lack of help available. The problems it described are similar to those in Hong Kong and there is a need for change.
I think the long hours people work are one of the main causes of mental illness in the city. But even though many people are suffering, mental health care remains underfunded. There are about 330 psychiatrists employed in public hospitals, which is 400 fewer than the number recommended by the World Health Organisation.
This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, as it is estimated that 1.7 million people may suffer from mental illness in Hong Kong.
The education and employment prospects of people with a mental illness can be adversely affected and it may lead to other people being harmed, if these people are living in the community and not getting proper treatment. The government must allocate more resources for the development of services and programmes to treat the mentally ill and help with their integration in society.
It is also important to raise public awareness. This will encourage more people with mental illness to seek help without the fear of discrimination.
Trisha Tobar, Tseung Kwan O
Factories in the capital are still major polluters
Beijing continues to have days when the authorities issue pollution alerts, because there are a lot of factories in and around the capital and checks on emissions remain inadequate. Tougher laws are needed to ensure that factories clean up emissions. Pollutants are released into the atmosphere which are harmful to citizens.
They can have a short-term effect, such as irritating the eyes, or do long-term damage, for example, to respiratory systems. Acid rain harms rivers, plants and crops.
The government in Beijing must keep a tighter check on emissions so that there are fewer pollution alerts.
Eric Lui, Po Lam
Many teens are addicted to online gaming
With advances in technology, everyone seems to have a gadget in their hands, for example, a tablet computer or a smartphone.
While these devices can be very helpful, some teenagers develop an addiction, especially with online games, and cannot drag themselves away from them. This can become a serious problem and schools must do more to ensure their students learn to act responsibly when online.
Just like gambling and other kinds of compulsive behaviour, teens can become so enthralled in the fantasy world of gaming that they neglect their family, friends, work and school.
There are a number of reasons why they can become addicted, including underlying issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. If they are unable to deal with these problems, they may resort to playing video games.
Schools should organise activities which encourage their students to get involved in real-life and healthy hobbies, where they can interact with peers and learn about things which interest them.
They should also be encouraged to get involved in sports, as this can help them deal with stress. Through these positive activities, they can learn about self-discipline and self-control. They are distractions from the virtual world.
Parents also need to offer guidance so youngsters learn to cope with the problems they will inevitably face in the real world. They should organise a sensible timetable that limits the amount of time their children can spend online playing games.
Victoria So Wan-tung, Tsuen Wan
Interaction with parents is important
I can understand why some teachers have complained about being overwhelmed by the number of emails they get from parents and students. However, interaction between parents and teachers is important and teachers must accept it is one of their responsibilities.
Perhaps the solution is for them to put emails on hold and reply to them later.
Walter Chong, Tseung Kwan O
Emails to teachers can be disruptive
As computers have become more sophisticated, students and parents can now contact class teachers through social media platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat, even after school hours.
This can be disruptive, especially when the teachers are at home marking students’ assignments and preparing for lessons. Also, they need time to relax and to recharge their batteries.
The best solution would seem to be for schools to make optimum use of the online platform eClass and encourage students and parents to use this to contact teachers.
To be fair, I think most youngsters and their parents are rational and do appreciate that teachers must be allowed time to rest.
Lam Sze-tung, Kwai Chung