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    #Hashtag Hong Kong

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    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)



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    14/08/2022
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    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)

    重溫

    CATCHUP
    06 - 08
    2022
    香港電台第三台

    14/08/2022

    07/08/2022

    Carol Liang, Deputy CEO of Mind HK

    31/07/2022

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

    24/07/2022

    Sammy Au, President of China Arborist Association

    17/07/2022

    10/07/2022

    Eleanor Morris, 'Auntie Mok'

    03/07/2022

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

    26/06/2022

    Shama Mashroor, Community Officer of Hong Kong Unison

    19/06/2022

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

    12/06/2022

    Yvonne Chak, Director of the Hong Kong Christian Service
    X

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

    From the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19 until now, we have launched various surveys to understand the effects of the pandemic on children, parents, and parenting. 

    During school suspensions, children had to stay at home, meaning parents had to reorganize childcare. 80% of parents were worried about their children’s development. 70% of them expressed their concerns about their children’s learning progress via online means. 65% of parents were concerned about the social skills development of their children due to no peer interaction. More than 70% revealed concerns about the risks of them and their children being infected with COVID-19. The parents indicated that their work and social lives had been significantly disrupted because of social distancing measures in Hong Kong. The parents were stressed out. 

     Moreover, it was found that parent-child relationships had deteriorated. More than 60% of parents said that they had more frequent arguments with their children since kids were more prone to have emotional and behavioral problems due to the stressors of the pandemic. In particular, young children under 6 are vulnerable to developmental shocks resulting from the pandemic because of a confluence of risk factors. These factors include delays in healthcare visits, lost access to child care and early education programmes, and economic-related hardship. 

    Fear, uncertainty, and being holed up at home more to slow the spread of COVID-19 can make it tough for families to keep a sense of calm. It’s therefore specially important to help children feel safe, maintain a healthy routine, manage their emotions and behaviors, and build resilience. 

    Parents should address the fear of their children, and answering their questions about the pandemic age appropriately. 

     Keep predictable routines even under school suspension in order to keep up the momentum of children’s lives. Parents can structure play, learning, exercise, nap, and reading time during school closures. 

     

    It’s important to spend quality time with relatives and loved ones with different means like Facetime, WhatsApp, writing letters, or YouTube videos. These practices will maintain good social interaction with others. At least, social skills can be practiced in the usage of social media.

     It is normal that children will act out more often under stress, anxiety, or fear through their behaviors during the pandemic which can in turn upset parents, particularly if they are already stressed. It is highly recommend that parents to use positive parenting to regulate children's misbehaviour. It means parents should acknowledge the wants behind the misbehaviours of their children, speak aloud about the feelings or wants of their children, and suggest timely alternative behaviours to them. 


     In order to face the challenges together with parents, our organization has launched different kinds of services to respond to their needs. For lessening the stresses of parents on children’s learning, we have developed home-based learning materials via our community centres for the families. Parents can use these materials, performing the role of their children’s first teachers and lead their kids to learn age-appropriate knowledge at home. In turn, the parent-child relationship will keep upbeat with the help of these interactive, fun, and meaningful learning activities. For soothing the high tension of the parents under the pandemic, our Parent Wellness Project has offered online wellness programmes to assist them to get their own “me-time”. The parents can put aside their work and communicate with their inner-self. For less fortunate families, such as low-income families, young parent families, families with mental health issues, or having children with special educational needs, their difficulties are much more than for other families during the past 2 years of the pandemic. We have continuously provided anti-pandemic measures, meal allowances, limited face-to-face parent-child services and online interactive services. 

    Whatever our circumstances, this period is tough on our mental health and our relationships. We may face challenges with our children but perhaps also opportunities to get to understand our children better, to learn new things together, and to be together as a family.

    And now I have a song I'd like to dedicate to  all of you listening. My song is: 姜濤嘅 蒙著嘴說愛你

    香港電台第三台

    03/07/2022 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    03/07/2022 - Charles Chan, Executive Director of the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong

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