Social crises trigger HK mental health epidemic, study finds

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The proportion of Hong Kong people suffering from probable depression and having suicidal thoughts hit a 10-year high during the current anti-extradition bill protests, researchers of the University of Hong Kong say, RTHK reports.
The research team, that has been doing a similar study since 2009, surveyed 1,200 people between June 22 and July 7 and found that 9.1 percent of them were considered to have probable depression while 4.6 percent said they had suicidal thoughts. 
A similar survey in 2014 during the Occupy Movement had found the prevalence of probable depression and suicidal thoughts were 5.3 percent and 3.6 percent respectively. 
In the surveys three years leading to that period, those figures had stood at 1.3 and 1.1 percent.
Dean of Medicine at the university, Professor Gabriel Leung, described the situation as a “mental health epidemic” caused by serious social events. 
He said taking part in the recent demonstrations or supporting the extradition bill made little difference to the likelihood of someone having probable depression.
He said it shows the increase may be related to a “more generalized, community-wide spillover effect”.