#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Cindy Ng, Senior Manager of Programmes & Services, KELY Support Group

    When KELY first started in 1991, it didn’t have a strategic plan. Our theory then was simple - to save lives. The initial group of young people who had started KELY saw how their peers were struggling with life’s pressures, with no real avenues of support, and as a result, turned to negative coping mechanisms including drug abuse, self harm and sometimes even death. As a support group, KELY quickly spread from one young person to another, and the organisation soon became publicly known, receiving invitations to share personal experience stories in school settings for educational purposes.  
    30 years later, we are proud of our history and the young people who started this movement of peer support and the subsequent achievements we have seen as a youth organisation. Today, our services have expanded beyond drug prevention education to include services tackling mental health issues among youth as well as providing positive youth development opportunities as a way to empower the youth and strengthen their resilience.
    Every year we support anywhere between 10-30,000 Hong Kong youth and with each decade we see young people within this same age group of 14-24 year olds facing different challenges. Throughout history we’ve seen evolution and progress in technology, in education, and on a societal level. With each generation we see new emerging trends and communication styles. The “how” today has changed to one that is no longer face to face, but hides behind screens. Our expressions are no longer lengthy descriptions of emotions and feelings in words, but replaced by five second video reels or one single character - an emoji. The efficiency of this way of emotion expression is high, but is it as effective as we need to be when communicating complex thoughts?
    This generation of youth is born into online chat rooms and technology that brings the world’s information and burdens at one click of a button. Whether or not young people are able to make sense of and process this burden is yet to be known. We see that the power of accessing information is empowering and builds a stronger and more connected generation, but it also further adds to the complicated emotions that these young people are likely to experience. 
    As we consider how to make our services relevant for the youth in this post COVID world, we recognise that our emotions and our overall mental health is at a tipping point. One thing that staunchly remains as a barrier during this time is the stigma around mental health issues. Yes, we might be slowly placing this as a higher agenda both in corporate and government agendas to help resource, lead conversations. But when it comes down to one individual in pain, struggling - the ability to openly share with family and friends, to confront the long waiting lines and wade through the options of where to seek for help and the subsequent worry about whether or not this would affect one's ability to keep working, or stay in school or just be “normal” becomes all too real and suddenly, getting help, telling people about their struggle is no longer a viable option. 
    In a survey KELY Support Group released earlier this year, we asked 1352 young people about their struggles and journeys seeking help 1.5 year after COVID-19 - the result is devastating. 51% rated themselves as being more than somewhat stressed when asked about their current emotional status; 60% did not seek help for their mental health conditions, and of those who do, 57% seek help only sometimes. 
    We see it all too often. When young people find themselves in such a difficult place and are unable to express themselves fully, that's when coping mechanisms become the crutch. That’s when things like alcohol or drugs enter as a perceived possibility to help “ease the pain” or “pass the time” so that living becomes easier. It is possible that young people might have tried other ways to cope, but what we also see is how often and how much media and pop culture and even societal norms advertise substances as a solution. As an example, the phrase “drink your problems away” appears in multiple facets of everyday life from song lyrics, to movie quotes, slogans and commonplace sayings between friends. The same goes for the use of drugs to “have a good time” - both of which become attractive possible solutions despite potentially harmful long term implications. 
    Substance abuse is a complicated issue and we need to continually be adjusting our approaches so as to ensure that prevention education work remains relevant and impactful despite the ever-changing environment.
    One thing we have seen throughout our work with youth across our programmes is a more open attitude towards vulnerable sharing and being more open to talk about genuine experiences in mental health and other challenges. We are always grateful to hear how our youth participants are able to make use of the techniques we teach them to effectively share their lived experiences, express their struggles to get help or support their peers.
    Through our school based work and joint campaigns implemented in conjunction with youth, we see that this generation are educated in how to care about their health and regardless of how they may be seen, they are actually making informed choices and are motivated, like others before them, to find their way to find success and achieve a life that is fulfilling and impactful. It just might not look like what you might expect. Our hope is that we can continually put ourselves into their shoes to effectively achieve our goal in Hong Kong…  to see young people reach their full potential.

    14/08/2022 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    14/08/2022 - Cindy Ng, Senior Manager of Programmes & Services, KELY Support Group


    06 - 08



    Carol Liang, Deputy CEO of Mind HK


    Elane Siu, advanced practice nurse at the Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care


    Sammy Au, President of China Arborist Association



    Eleanor Morris, 'Auntie Mok'


    Charles Chan, Executive Director of the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong


    Shama Mashroor, Community Officer of Hong Kong Unison


    Amarantha Yip, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society


    Yvonne Chak, Director of the Hong Kong Christian Service

    Yvonne Chak, Director of the Hong Kong Christian Service

    Are you taking care of your loved one? It is always a heartwarming but demanding and frustrating duty to take care of your old aged loved one, especially during the chaotic period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Here, I would like to share with you two stories about two carers. 86-year-old Aunt Mak is a very tough old lady who takes care of her 98-year-old husband. Her husband is completely blind with limited mobility, which means he is totally dependent on Aunt Mak in his everyday life. Unfortunately, he was infected with Omicron in late February. Aunt Mak devoted all her time and attention into taking good care of her husband and kept their home as clean as possible. But the fear and anxiety that resulted, led to a number of sleepless nights for Aunt Mak.

    My second story is about Mr Chan, a 79-year-old who has to take care of his wife, suffering from dementia. Mr Chan lives in a shadow of isolation that not many people can understand. Mr Chan says looking after his wife makes him feel like he is taking care of a little child. Everyday, Mr Chan runs in a repetitive cycle, where he has to ask his cognitively impaired wife to eat, take medication, put on clothes, and stay away from any dangerous situations. Though both Mr and Mrs Chan had recovered from COVID-19, Mr Chan feels very lonely as no one can easily share his burden, thoughts and feelings, especially under the current pandemic.     


    Problems faced by Aunt Mak and Mr Chan are just the tip of the iceberg. Hong Kong Christian Service surveyed nearly 300 carers of the elderly in April this year to find out more about the difficulties they faced, and also the support measures they needed during COVID-19. The results are worrying and noteworthy.


    Results showed that around 21% of carers were aged 65 or above, which means that many elderly people were actually taking care of the elderly. The survey also found that over 85% of carers were suffering from mild to severe depression. Almost one out of ten carers frequently thought they “would be better off dead,” or had considered self-harm. There is no doubt that the pandemic has placed a heavy burden on the carers.


    Findings from the survey also showed that four of the five most common difficulties encountered by carers were related to the pandemic and medical information, including difficulty understanding the government’s quarantine arrangements, lack of accurate medical information, confusion in reporting self-test positive results and inadequate knowledge about COVID-19. Besides, the “me time” of carers was reduced because they needed to take care of their elders at home around the clock during the pandemic.

    And regarding the support measures, almost 60% of carers hoped that their elders could continue to have follow-up consultations with doctors about their chronic illness and access the medicines they need during COVID-19. Other effective measures they needed were early identification of elders with special needs, efficient follow-up to the infected elders, short-term food assistance services for those in quarantine and accessible ambulance services.


    Based on the findings of our survey, we urge the government and all stakeholders to work together in implementing the following recommendations: First, the district-based support network should be strengthened. For instance, the government can maintain a list of high-risk individuals to effectively identify families with special needs and coordinate district groups in the distribution of anti-epidemic supplies and daily necessities to those infected. Also, the primary care system in each district should be better utilised. With an effective triage system, priority should be given to the frail elders for medical treatment and quarantine.


    And finally, we encourage carers to pay more attention to their mental health and seek professional help as soon as possible if necessary, and the government should enhance post-pandemic emotional support in order to rebuild the mental health of those in need.


    While there is no sign that COVID-19 will go away anytime soon, the carers and their elders need our support to get through these challenging times, and we must let them know that they are not alone. I would like to dedicate to all carers in Hong Kong a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” by Korean Singer J.Fla. Our world may be full of wounds. Together, by instilling hope and promoting harmony, we can heal the world. We can make a better place for our elderly and a better future for our children. 


    12/06/2022 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    12/06/2022 - Yvonne Chak, Director of the Hong Kong Christian Service

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