A letter from Mind HK CEO, Dr Candice Powell:
Dear Mind HK community,
As we approach the holiday season, a time of joy and celebration, I am reaching out with a heartfelt plea regarding a matter that is close to my heart: youth mental health. This year, we have witnessed the escalating urgency of this situation; 306 students attempted suicide, and tragically, 37 did not survive. It’s a sobering reality that most mental disorders typically manifest between the ages of 12 and 25, and a recent local study revealed that 1 in 4 young people in Hong Kong are facing a mental health problem.
When I was a teenager, I remember the relentless pressure I put on myself, studying every day after school and on weekends, terrified of disappointing my parents or myself. The devastation of falling a few points short of full marks led to frequent panic attacks and an ongoing anxious mood. This struggle continued into my university years, culminating in a major depressive disorder. But I was one of the fortunate ones. I received psychotherapy at university, a lifeline that provided support and taught me to understand my emotions.
This experience underscored to me the vital importance of timely mental health support. Mind HK’s initiative, Improving Access to Community Therapies (iACT®), is a programme that provides free talking therapy. Our focus is on improving psychological flexibility, quality of life, resilience, and the ability to cope with difficult emotions. We have seen first-hand how this support can transform lives, offering hope and healing.
Our iACT® programme provides services to young people who are facing early symptoms of mental health conditions, primarily depression, and anxiety – supporting them in entering recovery can lower their chances of developing severe mental health conditions and suicidal risk in the future. We must reach our young people early and ensure they have the appropriate care. The research shows that this can have a life-long, positive impact on their health.
This season, we are launching our first-ever holiday appeal for donations to fund this crucial programme.And here is the exciting part: for every donation you make, our generous match funders will double your impact. A donation of 375 HKD can provide an hour of therapy for a young person, and with our matching funds, that would be doubled to two hours.
Your generosity is about more than just money – it’s a message to our young people that they are not alone, that we care about them, and that we believe in their future. So, this holiday season, let’s give the gift of hope and healing.
Your contribution will ensure more young people receive the timely assistance they need; together we can transform mental health care in Hong Kong.
Thank you for your time and for considering our appeal. Wishing you a warm and joyous Christmas season.
CEO, Mind HK
To support our holiday appeal, please visit: bit.ly/mhkha23