COVID-19 Mental Health Relief Scheme
To support individuals who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Mind HK is happy to announce the COVID Mental Health Relief Scheme, supporting the COVID mental health relief committee, a group of therapists. The COVID mental health relief committee is a group of therapists. To find out more about them, please click here. Together, we will coordinate and offer short-term, pro bono mental health support from August 2020 to early 2021. Beneficiaries will receive up to 3, one-to-one remote sessions, provided free of charge, to support those in managing their mental health and wellbeing.
Due to the exceptional difficulties experienced by some of those in quarantine centres or those who are/or have been hospitalised, support to these individuals will be prioritised. Sessions will be offered in English and Cantonese to those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
How can I sign up for support sessions/enquire?
If you are interested in receiving support, please review the FAQs below and fill out this form here:
Who is the scheme for?
The scheme has been developed to support those whose mental wellbeing has been affected by COVID-19, and are showing early signs of emotional distress. This service is not an emergency service and has not been developed to provide ‘therapy’, but to provide brief ‘guided self-help’ support for those showing early signs of emotional distress due to Covid-19. If you are struggling with more moderate to severe mental health issues, or a longstanding and enduring mental illness, or there is a risk concern due to your current mental health, then this service may not be the right type of support for you.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for this scheme, you must:
– Be 18+ and a Hong Kong resident
– Have access to a secure & stable Wi-Fi-connection & access to a computer or phone with a working camera & audio
Priority will be given to those:
– Who are/or have been admitted to a quarantine centre or hospital, due to Covid-19
– Who are healthcare workers or individuals who offer frontline support
– Individuals who do not have private health insurance
After registering your interest, a Mind HK staff member will review your application and will be in touch within 7 days for further details, and inform you about eligibility and next steps. If this scheme is a good fit for you, our team will aim to match you with a healthcare professional to best fit your needs. In the meantime, should you have any questions please email [email protected]
Who will conduct the sessions?
Qualified healthcare professionals will conduct the sessions. A group of clinicians, including psychologists and counsellors, have volunteered their time to this scheme.
What kind of support will be provided?
A qualified healthcare professional will provide 1-3 sessions of ‘guided self-help’ support to those showing early signs of emotional distress due to Covid-19.
Guided self-help is where you work through a self-help workbook or guide with the support of a clinician. The idea is that you first work through the workbook with the support of your clinician, then you can continue to work through some of the content on your own, even once sessions have ended.
As you work through the booklet together with your clinician, there are plenty of opportunities for you to complete sections about your own experiences, to make the support relevant to you. This will help you to identify the materials that are most useful for you, so you can tailor the guide to your own needs.
What are some early signs of emotional distress?
Below are some common symptoms you might be facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:
– Persistent worry & fear about catching the virus or passing it on to loved ones
– Finding ourselves unable to stop or control worrying
– Not getting pleasure or interest from our regular activities
– Lots of procrastination/opting out of things we would usually do
– Changes in sleep, appetite or energy levels
– Increased use of alcohol or other substances
– Struggling to concentrate
– Increased restlessness or feeling lethargic
– Feeling more irritable or tearful than usual
How has COVID-19 impacted mental health in Hong Kong?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread decline in mental health, particularly affecting those who are vulnerable, from low income groups, and those in quarantine or isolation. In May 2020, Mind HK conducted an online survey and commissioned a phone survey to determine how levels of well-being changed during the rise of Covid-19 in Hong Kong (from January to April). The phone survey found that 43% of people reported that their mental health has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We hope that Hong Kong’s most vulnerable people will benefit from this scheme, especially those who would otherwise have not had access to mental health support.
If you are facing a crisis: If you feel able to, you can speak to a trusted friend or family member, or a medical or mental health professional. Starting the conversation can be hard, but these people want to talk to you and help you to cope. If you think you may act on suicidal feelings, or you have seriously harmed yourself: Phone 999 or go to your nearest A&E department.
Suicide 24 Hour Hotlines:
The Samaritans Befrienders: 23892222
The Samaritans (multilingual): 28960000
Suicide Prevention Services (Cantonese only): 23820000
Managing mental health during COVID-19: https://www.mind.org.hk/coronavirusoutbreakmentalhealthtips/
How to seek help in Hong Kong: https://www.mind.org.hk/getting-help/
Where to seek urgent support (including additional hotlines): https://www.mind.org.hk/find-help-now/
Non-urgent support options, including low-cost services: https://www.mind.org.hk/community-directory/
Stay safe and take care!
Thank you to Goldman Sachs Gives for sponsoring this scheme. Pro-bono legal support for this scheme was provided by Gall and DLA Piper.