MINDSET College Scholarship and Award Ceremony recognizes Mindset College students' unremitting effort

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The College provides an innovative education platform for people in recovery and the general public to learn how to improve mental wellness.

Around 200 people in recovery, caregivers, mental health service practitioners and the public participated to share the joy of the graduating students in the first online scholarship ceremony of MINDSET College held on December 12th.

An innovative concept

MINDSET College was founded in 2017 to strengthen the society’s positive understanding and acceptance of the people with mental illness and people in recovery, and to support their recovery to rebuild a meaningful life. Four local social welfare organizations – Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service,

Caritas Hong Kong, Mental Health Association of Hong Kong and New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association – received support from MINDSET to jointly organize the College to provide education and training courses for people in recovery, caregivers, mental health service practitioners and community members.

To date, the College has provided 2124 courses (4248 hours) of various levels to a total of more than 2560 students. This year, 210 students were awarded certificates to affirm their efforts in their growth and recovery. Among which 33 were awarded scholarships by the College to support further implementing of their recovery goals for their remarkable progress, active participation and contributions to the College.

“The College is a brand-new concept that allows people who are recovering and interested, to regain their time as students and even become peer mentors with both gains and contributions,” says Wong Yan-lung, GBM, SC, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health. “Graduating students should love themselves more and remember that they are not alone on the rugged road to recovery, as they are accompanied by quality friends in the College.”

Wong adds that students who have recovered and are ‘back on track’ can return to the College as mentors and trainers to encourage others and strive to help the public understand people in recovery, thereby promoting social integration and obtaining more support and resources from the society.
Giving momentum to recovery

MINDSET College is the only education platform in Hong Kong that provides recovery-oriented mental health training and courses co-produced and taught by people in recovery alongside service professionals. The content combines recovery experience and professional knowledge to get closer to the people in recovery; all the while promoting the teaching and learning of mental health service practitioners.

Chan Chi-shing, the representative of the scholarship awardee, shares his experience of participating in the course during the ceremony, saying that the courses help improve his life and family relations. “I’ve learnt to interact with my family with a new attitude and perspective, through which we’re able to understand each others’ emotions and stress.”

Another award-winning representative,  Wong Ka-long, says that all the friends he met at the academy know about mental health with a relatively open mind, and he could make quality friends there.

“Mindset College is different from regular mental health service in that people in recovery can experience equality and respect, and build their personal identity with greater confidence,” says Wong Ka-long, peer support worker. He hopes that there more resources can be integrated to develop peer support training, and that more position for peer support workers will be created in the future.  

Raising mental health awareness

“The pandemic has made everyone cherish the opportunity to meet with their family and friends. People are also becoming more aware of mental health. MINDSET is dedicated to helping everyone ride through the difficult times,” says Andrew Wong, the board member of MINDSET.

Commenting on Hong Kong’s mental health and prospects for services, Chairman Wong says that Hongkongers’ mental health is under strain amidst the pandemic, and special attention should be paid to it at this stage. He suggests simple acts of care and support for each other in this turbulent time, including talking to someone when facing emotional ups and downs, and inviting those who have emotional needs to open up.

Wong believes the future development of mental health boils down to two aspects. One is to help people in recovery through a co-produced education model. He hopes that the College can accumulate practical experience for future promotion of the means.

On the other hand, it is essential to educate society on mental health. It can be done by first raising public awareness, and reducing discrimination and self-stigma through education; followed by deepening public education to allow the society understand and care about people in recovery, thus promoting social integration.

Looking ahead

Dr. Chui Wing-ho, the advisor of MINDSET College, points out that it is crucial to learn how to help oneself when encountering mental stress. “There is a lot of mental health information on the Internet but the contents are not in-depth and life-oriented enough. The courses of the College can help people learn from zero and see mental health from a new perspective. The learners, having acquired new knowledge and skills, can also improve their own mental health.”

He underscored the empirical support of the co-production model. It is recommended that the government provide resources for the College to widely promote the co-production model in the community, so that the public are equipped with the skills and knowledge to overcome emotional and life problems.

“In the long run, this allows people in recovery to rebuild their confidence and transform their illness experience into contribution, which will help others go through their journey to recovery and build emotional support networks,” says Dr. Chui.

MINDSET College will carry out another three-year education and training work project. In the future, it will invite more sectors, including universities, schools, hospitals, social welfare institutions, to jointly run recovery courses. It also plans to open an online College so that students can attend classes anytime, anywhere, without the interference of external changes, and continue on the road to recovery.

For further information, please visit our website: www.mindsetcollege.org.hk or visit our YouTube at Mindset College Channel.

 

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