Survey finds a quarter of Hong Kong's working population show signs of depression and anxiety

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 October, 2015, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 October, 2015, 6:22pm

A quarter of working persons in Hong Kong show levels of depression and anxiety – 2.5 times above the global average – and around 18 per cent of working persons need psychological treatment, a recent survey revealed.

Among the 377 workers jointly surveyed by the Occupational Safety and Health Council and the Whole Person Education Foundation, over 60 per cent said they felt highly stressed due to their jobs and over half of them have sub-optimal mental and psychological health.

The survey was conducted in June, and the council and the foundation also co-organised a pilot 'Work-Life Happiness Workshop’ from June to September this year to help boost participants’ resistance to stress.

READ MORE: Doctor warns of suicide risk as 40pc of Hong Kong pupils suffer stress as new term begins

Dr Wong Chung-kwong, chairman of the foundation and a former professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at The Chinese University, said, “Through learning and practising positive psychology, working persons can be more immune to facing stress, thus lowering the risk of suffering from psychological illnesses like depression or anxiety.”

Following the workshop, positive changes were reported amongst participants, all of whom took part in the survey as well.

The number of those who felt highly stressed due to their jobs fell from 60 per cent to 37 per cent; those who suffered from depression and anxiety declined from 25 per cent to 18 per cent; and those who needed psychological treatment dipped from 17.6 per cent to 14 per cent.

READ MORE: The sorry state of mental health care in Hong Kong

Bonnie Yau Man, executive director of the council, called the results “very encouraging”, and claimed that learning how to turn work stress into work challenges is “what many Hongkongers need.”

“Excessive work pressure will affect one’s mental health and relationship with family,” she added. “It will also weaken one’s productivity and increase the society’s burden on medical expenses." Yau called on employers, employees, and society to “treat this matter seriously”.

The second round of the free workshops led by Dr Wong is now open to applications. Classes will be held at the council’s training centre in North Point every Wednesday from November 25 for five consecutive weeks.