*Mind HK Statement: Mind HK Responds to Recent Stabbing Incident and Urges Responsible Media Coverage of Mental Health Conditions*
(Hong Kong, 4 June 2023)- Local mental health charity Mind HK extends its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the two individuals who tragically lost their lives in the recent stabbing incident at a mall in Hong Kong. We are aware that the attacker was reported to have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was seeking professional support, and we would like to address the resulting discussion surrounding the incident.
Schizophrenia is a complex mental health condition characterised by symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganised behaviour, which can lead to a decline in various aspects of daily functioning. The vast majority of people diagnosed with schizophrenia are not violent, and generalising or stigmatising individuals with this condition can further isolate them and discourage them from seeking the help they need and deserve. Providing an inclusive and non-stigmatizing environment is crucial for promoting recovery and well-being for those affected by this condition.
This incident may raise concerns regarding the link between mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, and violence. However, research indicates only 3% to 5% of violent acts can be attributed to persons with severe mental illness, and individuals living with mental health conditions are significantly more likely to be victims of violence themselves (SAMHSA, 2023).
“In the face of this unfortunate incident, let us always remember: the majority of violent acts are not born from mental illness, and most of those suffering from serious mental illness pose no danger. We must resist the urge to generalise a single tragic event onto all those facing mental health challenges.“ – Dr Candice Powell, CEO, Mind HK and Clinical Psychologist
“Violent behaviour in individuals with mental illness is often the result of a complex interplay of stress factors rather than the mental illness itself. It is important that we combat stigma and promote understanding and support, so we can help to create a more inclusive and compassionate society for all individuals, regardless of their mental health status.” – Odile Thiang, Lead Clinical Advisor (Anti-stigma and Training)
Mind HK’s research found that 3 in 5 people diagnosed with a mental health condition in Hong Kong reported that they have never disclosed their struggles to anyone, with 43% reporting concerns of stigmatisation and discrimination (Mind HK, 2021). It is crucial to avoid stigmatising those who suffer from mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, and to ensure that individuals experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia or other mental health conditions, or caring for someone who is, can seek the appropriate support without fear of judgement or discrimination.
In light of the graphic images and videos circulating, we encourage the public and the media to be mindful of their own mental health when exposed to such content. Viewing distressing material can significantly impact an individual’s wellbeing, and it is essential to seek support and resources if needed.
We call on the media to exercise caution in the footage they release and the language they use surrounding mental illness in order to promote a more empathetic and understanding discourse. The media has considerable influence on shaping the narrative about mental health and mental health experiences; it is imperative that reporting on specific mental health conditions is done with careful consideration of the implications of perpetuating mental health stigma and discrimination.
Mind HK’s vision is to ensure that no one in Hong Kong has to face a mental health problem alone, and it is evident stigma is a pervasive barrier for people seeking help in the community. We welcome the Hong Kong Secretary of Health’s comments on not stigmatising individuals facing mental health conditions and on encouraging people facing symptoms to seek the appropriate help.
For more information about mental health support and resources available in Hong Kong, please visit our website at www.mindhk.org.
Mindframe mental health reporting guidelines:
Mindframe guidelines on media reporting of severe mental illness in the context of violence and crime:
SPRC Style Guide: Reporting on Mental Health
Additional resources on the mental health of journalists:
Data on mental health stigma in Hong Kong:
More tips on taking care of your wellbeing :
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.
Press /General Enquiries:
Jeff Chan / Chloe Hung
T: +852 2509 3308
Carol Liang, Deputy CEO, Mind HK
E: [email protected]
Emet So, Communications Coordinator, Mind HK
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