“Good Mental Health Is More Than The Absence Of A Mental Health Problem”
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
Throughout this Abnormal Psychology course we were introduced to a lot of different aspects covering the history, treatment, hardships and current day situation of mental illness. One aspect of this course that we focussed heavily on, and that I was extremely interested by, was how teenagers deal with mental health. I decided to research heavily into the current mental health situation of teenagers in Hong Kong. I then wanted to connect what I had learnt about the way teenagers deal with mental health in Hong Kong to my own school, HKIS, and I was eager to become involved and make a change in my own community. (Photo of HKIS)
My interest in this specific topic began I became aware of the unsettling number of student suicides taking place in Hong Kong over the last year. When researching I came across an article titled, “Student suicides in Hong Kong signal distressing lack of mental health support for our youth”. This was published in the South China Morning Post, a well known and credible newspaper in Hong Kong, and details disturbing information detailing the increasing teenage suicide rate that Hong Kong is facing and some potential causation factors. I was completely unaware of the help that Hong Kong students desperately need in terms of support towards mental health issues. One quote from the article that I found particularly alarming was, “more than four in 10 Hongkongers between the ages of 11 and 30 say they have experienced thoughts of suicide”. I could not believe some of the information that was being presented and so this was the point that I knew I wanted to do something that change the mental health situation within HKIS.
The challenge in my community that I wanted to address is simply helping students by creating a week that would target the stigma currently facing mental health within our school community. I do not think that our school is unique in the fact that students do not feel comfortable opening up about any mental health problems, whether that be stress, anxiety, mental illness, peer pressure, etc. I think that many students in many schools all over the world do not have the kind of support they need at school to share their problems, worries and experiences within this subject matter. In addition, Chinese culture negatively impacts the willingness to share and be venerable. There are different cultural normalities that impact the stigma associated with mental illness one of which is ‘face’, a metaphorical barrier put up to falsely display a high level of competency and professionalism in any environment. ‘Face’ makes it more challenging to expose your vulnerabilities and imperfections. Chinese and Asian students comprise the majority of the HKIS student body and perpetuate the face characteristics which amplifies the challenge in my community. I feel that in order for the problems that Hong Kong is currently experiencing in regard to the accelerated number of teenager suicides it is essential to help students open up and feel comfortable sharing and mental health problems. Furthermore, the academic pressure at HKIS is of an extremely high level and many students feel extremely stressed to achieve the best marks possible.
This video below is provided by ‘Time to Change’ which is the “UK’s biggest campaign to get people talking about mental health to help change attitudes for the better”. The video is relevant and gives a clear demonstration of the importance of students feeling comfortable about sharing their mental health problems in schools.
“Number of youngsters in Hong Kong under 15 years old who sought help from Hospital Authority’s psychiatry department jumps 78 per cent since 2010” – South China Morning Post
The solution is to help create this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week that will provide information, support, and open up a conversation about mental health within the school community. My mission for the week is to create a safe space in the school environment that students can talk, share and learn about relevant mental health issues.
My Prototype Video for Mental Health Awareness Week at Hong Kong International School 🙂
My next step is to work with my team to finalise all of the events and work out all of the logistical aspects of the week. Additionally, we need to liaise with other departments such as photography, counselling, video to have them involved in the week. Finally, I would like to develop a rubric for student reflection to gain valuable insights on how to improve the following year.
I would really appreciate any suggestions and advice that you as viewers have on the following areas:
- How to help students open up
- Effective ideas for promoting a mental health awareness week
- Relevant and valuable information that is necessary to discuss during this week.
Please leave questions, comments, connections and any ideas that you may have when exploring my catalyst project page 🙂 One way that you could give feedback is through a process called design thinking. In design thinking you provide constructive criticism through guiding questions beginning with phases such as “What if….? How might we….? I wonder…..?”
Thank you so much for viewing my catalyst project and I really would love to hear any feedback. Have a wonderful day!