Unhappiness surges among the young

Top News | Cissy So 27 Oct 2020

Students were the most unhappy group due to long periods of school suspensions amid the pandemic, an annual poll on Hong Kong's happiness levels and mental health shows.

The poll, conducted by Polytechnic University's School of Nursing and commissioned by non-profit group HK.WeCare, interviewed more than 1,800 people online last month to score their happiness on a scale of zero to 10.

Results found that the "happy index" was 6.16 points, similar to last year's 6.15 points.

The poll aimed to study and analyze happiness levels, psychological factors, environmental factors and depression.

Students aged 12 to 18 were the most unhappy group, with an index of 5.87 points, while those who were 55 years old or above were the happiest, with an index of 6.61 points.

"Students were usually the happiest group of all, but they became the most unhappy in this year's survey, which is rare," said HK.WeCare cochair Sylvia Chan May-kuen.

"Such a situation is related to school suspensions, when students were cut out of social activities, disrupting life patterns, so that physical and mental states will inevitably be affected," Chan said, suggesteing schools enhance mental health education for students as well as communication between students and teachers.

Interviewees were also asked about 10 qualities of life, including satisfaction with politics, the economy and the environment.

Of the 10 qualities, the lowest scores were "government governance" (3.03 points), "degree of trust in government handling" (3.04 points) and "politics and society" (3.31 points).

Young people aged 35 or below were more dissatisfied with the three items, compared to other age groups.

Another cochair, Tik Chi-yuen, said the performance of the government was also closely related to the mood and happy index.

"The survey shows that the young are dissatisfied with the government, and the future of society belongs to them," Chan added. "The government needs to reflect more on how to have young people's trust and should care more about their views and voices when it comes to governance."

Female respondents were less happy than males, which was contrary to the usual results of past years.

More than 45 percent of respondents had mild to severe depression, an increase from last year.

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