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Asia Minute: Hong Kong’s Mental Health Challenges

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Issues of mental health have come under closer attention around the world. In part, that’s because of recent efforts of people from Britain’s Prince William and Prince Harry to Lady Gaga. But in at least one part of Asia, large challenges remain. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


Hong Kong has a problem when it comes to mental health.

The World Health Organization says a city of Hong Kong’s size should have about 700 psychiatrists in its public hospitals.

Instead, the city has about 300. And the wait times to see a mental health professional have exploded.

The Hong Kong Free Press quotes figures from the city’s Hospital Authority as saying the average wait time for a resident in Kowloon to see someone has now stretched to more than nine months.

Further away from the city center, in the New Territories, it can take more than three years to see a mental health professional.

A new government report sees increased demand for psychiatrists—especially for children. Anxiety and depression are cited as growing among children especially in an increasingly competitive academic environment.

A survey from Chinese University’s Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies sought out parents of young children.

It found almost half of those polled enrolled their kindergarten or primary school child in at least two after-school tutorials or music classes.

Another issue: a lack of time playing outdoors. underlined by a separate study from the University of Hong Kong. That one found that many primary school students in the city are given less time each week for outdoor exercise than prisoners.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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