Supporting mental well-being for all this holiday season!
Mind HK enhances their “Help Me Virtual Assistant”
with emotional check-in features and interactive self-help activities
(20th December 2023 – Hong Kong) – The holiday period is a time of joy and celebration for most of us. But for those who are lonely or grappling with depression and other mental health problems, it can be a difficult time.
Alison Lee, Clinical Advisor at Mind HK, said: “Christmas is generally thought of as a time of joy and love, but for many people, it’s a time of loneliness. Some people live far away from their loved ones, while others dread going to holiday parties. We understand that you may not be alone, but holidays and festive seasons can be a lonely and difficult time for many.”
In recognition of this, Mind HK, the local mental health charity, has taken significant steps in its mission to ensure that no one in Hong Kong faces mental health challenges alone. Among these steps, the charity has recently introduced an upgraded version of its bilingual “Help Me Virtual Assistant” (Help Me). This upgrade aims to enhance accessibility to mental health care support in Hong Kong.
Initially introduced in 2020 through a partnership with the support of the family of the late Captain Laurence W. F. Grant, a former British Army officer who lived in Hong Kong and battled mental illness, “Help Me” functions as a bilingual chatbot system. By leveraging the power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), users can swiftly access a variety of mental health information and receive efficient and timely support anytime and anywhere.
In addition to a new user interface, the latest version of “Help Me” has advanced the overall capabilities of the chatbot by integrating innovative features that aim to humanise the interaction, fostering a higher level of user engagement with personalised emotional support, encouraging individuals to prioritise and nurture their mental well-being actively.
Highlighted new features include the emotion check-in service that enables users to observe and assess their emotional state. This service empowers individuals to track their emotions on a daily basis, facilitating the identification and deeper understanding of their mental well-being. Additionally, it provides access to relevant mental health information, offering valuable resources to support users in their journey towards improved emotional health.
In a more practical approach, “Help Me” also introduced a range of guided self-help activities based on proven therapeutic techniques, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which assists users in managing their emotions effectively. The activities include mindful breathing exercises, PAM (Pleasure, Achievement and Mastery) activities, situational self-compassion exercises, and more. For more details about Mind HK’s “Help Me” self-help activities, please refer to Appendix 1.
Matthew Wong, Programmes and Operations Manager at Mind HK, said: “Stigma typically arises due to a lack of understanding perpetuated by misguided societal norms. Through education and engaging in honest and open dialogue, we can begin to combat stigma and create a more inclusive and compassionate environment. “Help Me” was developed with the intention of offering a platform for users to enquire about various aspects of mental health in a safe and non-prejudiced manner. Through “Help Me”, we aim to establish a venue where people can learn more about mental health, foster empathy, reduce stigma, and promote mental well-being for all.”
In the wake of unveiling the new features of “Help Me”, Mind HK will closely monitor user behaviour data, diligently review the content and user experience by collecting valuable user feedback, and continuously improve and explore innovative features for future implementation, supporting those in need within society further and beyond.
Join us in making a difference this holiday season by supporting Mind HK’s holiday appeal fundraising campaign. Your generous donation will help enhance and provide frontline support for youth who are facing mental health challenges. Together, we can create a positive impact and ensure that young individuals receive the care and resources they need to thrive. Donate today and help us make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Mind HK wishes everyone a happy holiday!
Links to Mind HK’s “Help Me Virtual Assistant”
Traditional Chinese: www.mind.org.hk/zh-hant/help-me/
Appendix 1: Mind HK ‘Help Me’ self-help activities include:
|By using Mind HK’s Help Me Virtual Assistant
1. Mindful breathing
Mindful breathing is a technique that helps people to focus on the present moment, without judging anything, through breathing. It is helpful when we are feeling stressed or anxious. As our breathing relaxes, our muscles and mind also relax.
|With “Help Me”, users can carry out guided breathing exercises anywhere at any time of the day.
2. PAM activities (Pleasure, Achievement and Mastery Activities)
PAM stands for Pleasure, Achievement and Mastery. PAM activities are activities that can boost your happiness, help you find a sense of achievement, and make you feel grounded and in control.
|With “Help Me”, users can plan and generate their own unique PAM schedule.
3. Self-compassion exercise
Practising self-compassion can help us step away from our inner critic and introduce kindness.
|“Help Me” provides situational exercises for users to explore self-compassionate behaviours and attitudes in real life and help them learn how to replace self-criticism with constructive feedback.
4. Grounding exercise:
The grounding technique allows us to shift our attention back from the overwhelming emotions to the present moment and focus on our next steps.
|With “Help Me”, users are encouraged to manage anxiety and stress by focusing on breathing and senses through this exercise.
T: +852 6334 6038
Carol Liang, Deputy CEO, Mind HK
About Mind HK
Mind HK (Mind Mental Health Hong Kong Limited) is an S88 registered charity (91/16471), which was launched in 2017. The organisation’s vision is to ensure that no one in Hong Kong has to face a mental health problem alone. Through resources, training, and outreach campaigns and programmes, the work of Mind HK helps to raise awareness of mental health and reduce the associated stigma, with the aim of achieving the best mental health for all in Hong Kong. With existing collaboration and research efforts, Mind HK is here to support Hong Kong in becoming a global leader and regional model for public mental health. For more on their work, vision, and mission, please visit www.mind.org.hk/.
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