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Both society and family have an impact on a person’s mental health

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Both society and family have an impact on a person’s mental health

By Lau Kin-shing

The World Health Organization explicitly emphasizes the importance of mental health by stating, “There is no health without mental health.” A series of terrible and unfortunate events that happened in Hong Kong recently shocked society and has once again drawn public attention to the issue of mental health. 

Many residents have expressed concerns over and recalled their personal experiences related to those events through various channels. But Hong Kong society must guard against overreacting to those events, lest it deepen the misunderstanding of and stigma associated with mental health conditions, ultimately leading to another mental health crisis.

Mental health is influenced by various factors, including societal and familial environments. Society, with its norms, expectations, and support systems, plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s mental well-being. Similarly, the family, as the primary social unit, greatly impacts an individual’s psychological health. Thus it is helpful to explore how society and family can contribute to mental distress and what strategies can facilitate positive transformation.

Society’s impact on mental health

Societal factors such as stress, pressure and social expectations can significantly influence an individual’s mental well-being. In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, individuals may face overwhelming societal pressures, leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Social isolation, discrimination and stigma associated with mental health issues further compound these challenges.

To foster positive change, society must prioritize mental health and well-being. This can be achieved through public awareness campaigns, education, and de-stigmatization efforts. By promoting mental health literacy and correcting misconceptions, society can create an inclusive environment that supports and embraces individuals with mental health conditions. Building strong support networks, accessible mental health services, and fostering a culture of empathy and acceptance are vital steps in creating a society that promotes mental well-being.

Family dynamics and mental health

The family unit, as the primary source of support and socialization, plays a crucial role in an individual’s mental health. A nurturing and supportive family environment contributes to the development of a secure attachment, positive self-esteem and emotional well-being.

Conversely, an unhealthy or unsupportive family environment can contribute to the development of psychological distress. Family conflicts, members’ mental health issues, and a lack of intimate relationships can all have negative impacts on an individual’s mental well-being.

Effective communication within the family is also instrumental in maintaining an individual’s psychological health. Open and healthy communication fosters positive relationships, enhances intimacy and promotes understanding. Conversely, communication barriers, conflicts and silence can exacerbate psychological distress. Therefore, effective communication and emotional expression among family members are key to promoting individual mental well-being.

Mental health is influenced by various factors, including societal and familial environments. Society, with its norms, expectations, and support systems, plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s mental well-being. Similarly, the family, as the primary social unit, greatly impacts an individual’s psychological health. Thus it is helpful to explore how society and family can contribute to mental distress and what strategies can facilitate positive transformation

Strategies for positive change

To improve an individual’s mental health and well-being, a range of measures can be taken to improve societal and family environments.
At the societal level, emphasis should be placed on mental health education and awareness. Providing information and resources about mental health increases societal understanding and empathy toward mental health issues. Efforts should be made to reduce the stigma surrounding mental disorders, promoting social acceptance and support for individuals with mental health conditions. Additionally, establishing mental health support networks and resources helps individuals seek timely assistance and treatment. Most importantly, creating a supportive and caring social environment in which individuals feel understood, accepted and supported is crucial.

At the family level, prioritizing intimate family relationships and communication is essential. Understanding and support among family members play a vital role in an individual’s mental well-being. Creating a supportive and healthy family environment that provides a sense of security and love, and encourages open and positive communication, is key. Family members can engage in mental health education and training to enhance their understanding and coping skills regarding mental health issues. Simultaneously, providing mental health support and resources to family members enables them to better understand and support individuals dealing with mental health challenges.

Society and family environments have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health. Factors such as stress, isolation, societal expectations and stigma can contribute to mental distress. However, by improving societal and family environments, we can create supportive, understanding, and caring contexts that promote mental well-being.

To achieve this, it is crucial to prioritize mental health education, raise awareness and combat stigma at the societal level. Simultaneously, nurturing intimate family relationships and fostering effective communication within the family.

The HKSAR government has been implementing various measures to promote mental health education, such as the Shall We Talk program launched in 2020. Through these comprehensive efforts, positive messages about mental health are disseminated to the public, enhancing their understanding of mental well-being and encouraging individuals to seek assistance and treatment at an early stage. The objective is to reduce misunderstandings and discrimination against individuals with mental illnesses. Additionally, the government is committed to strengthening mental health support in the workplace. For instance, the implementation of the Mental Health Charter for the Workplace aims to establish a mentally healthy and supportive work environment. As of March, nearly 1,200 organizations have signed the charter across Hong Kong.

I strongly agreed with and was pleased by the government’s recent announcement of 10 enhanced support measures following the meeting of the Mental Health Advisory Committee under the Department of Health. These measures include the Hospital Authority exploring the prescription of newer and less side-effect-prone oral or injectable medications for patients in need of psychiatric care. The Hospital Authority will also complete a review of the “Conditional Release” mechanism under the Mental Health Ordinance and present the review results at the upcoming committee meeting next month. The government will formulate the next steps based on the review findings. Additionally, the Social Welfare Department will enhance the services of the Integrated Community Mental Health Centers to strengthen early identification and intervention for individuals with mental health needs.

I believe these measures will contribute to improving patients’ treatment outcomes and quality of life while reducing the negative impact of mental health issues on individuals, families and society. However, these measures also require support and participation from all sectors of society to raise broader awareness and support for mental health and to promote understanding and acceptance of mental health in society.

The author is Director of Psychology & Counselling Affairs of Chinese Dream Think Tank, vice-president of the Hong Kong Psychological Consultancy & Counseling Association, an International Certified Hypnotherapist instructor, and a senior Chinese psychological counselor and course instructor.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
【CDTT Newspaper Article】Ztephen Law:Both society and family have an impact on a person’s mental health (China Daily HK Edition, 14 June 2023)

https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/335818#Both-society-and-family-have-an-impact-on-a-person%E2%80%99s-mental-health

This article is reproduced by Kwun Media with the consent of China Daily.

Chinese Dream Think Tank is a non-profit Hong Kong-based organization working with skilled volunteers, experts and professionals who are passionate about telling the China story well.

中國夢智庫|「社會」與「家庭」都對個人的心理健康產生影響

「世界衛生組織」明確強調心理健康的重要性:「沒有心理健康就沒有健康」。最近,特區發生的一系列可怕而不幸的事件震驚全社會,精神健康問題再次引起全民關注。

許多居民通過各種渠道表達對那一場黑暴事件的關注與回憶著他(她)們和這些事件相關的人與經歷,對個人精神健康狀況有所影響。但是,特區社會必須警惕,請大家不要對這些事件的誤解與厭惡感再度反應過敏,因為不正確關注最終可導致另一場精神健康危機。

心理健康受到各種因素的影響,其中包括社會和家庭環境。社會及其規範、期望與支持系統在塑造個人心理健康方面發揮著重要的作用。同樣值得注意,家庭作為一個主要的社會單位,極大地影響著個人的心理健康。因此,探索社會與家庭如何導致精神困擾以及哪些策略可以促進積極的個人心理健康轉變是有益的。

社會對心理健康的影響

受壓感、壓迫感與社會期望等社會因素都顯著地影響個人著大家的個人心理健康。在當今快節奏與競爭激烈的社會中,個人可能會面臨壓倒性的社會壓力,導致焦慮、抑鬱與其他心理健康障礙。與心理健康問題相關的社會孤立、歧視與汙名厭惡感進一步加劇了這些挑戰。
為促進相關方面帶來變化,社會必須積極考慮心理與身體健康。此事項可通過提高大家對運動、教育與消除汙名厭惡感認識度來實現。通過促進心理健康素養與糾正誤解認知,特區可創造出一個富包容性的社會環境,支援與擁抱患有心理健康問題的個人。其中包括建立一個強大的支持網路、提供心理健康服務以及培養同情心與接受感的文化是創建一個促進心理健康社會的重要步驟。

家庭動向與心理健康

家庭作為社會的一個組成單位,是支持和健康社交圈的主要來源。這些都在個人的心理健康中起著至關重要的作用。一個富包容性與支援感的家庭環境有助於發展家庭成員的安全感、依戀度、積極心態、自尊與情感健康。相反,不健康或對家人沒有顯現支援態度的家庭環境會導致成員心理上的困擾與妨礙個人發展。家庭衝突、成員的心理健康問題以及缺乏親密關係都會對個人的心理健康產生負面影響。

家庭內部的有效溝通渠道也有助於維持個人的心理健康。開放與健康的溝通方式可以促進積極關係的發展,增強親情關係並促進理解。相反,溝通障礙、衝突與打冷戰會加劇家庭成員的心理困擾。因此,家庭成員之間的有效溝通與情感表達是促進個人心理健康的關鍵所在。

積極改變的戰略

為改善個人心理健康與福祉,以下有-系列可採取措施來改善社會與家庭情感環境。

在社會層面,應強調心理健康教育與相關認知度。提供有關心理健康的信息與資源可提高全社會對心理健康問題的理解與包容度。應努力減少圍繞著精神障礙的汙名厭惡感,促進社會對精神健康問題患者的接受與支援。此外,建立心理健康支援網路與資源有助於個人及時尋求相關的幫助與治療。最重要一點,創造一個富有支援性與關懷心的社會環境,讓個人感到會被理解、被接受與獲取支援是至關重要方方面面。

在家庭層面,優先培養親密家庭關係與溝通管道至關重要。家庭成員之間的理解與互相支援對個人心理健康起著至關重要的作用。創造一個有支援性與健康的家庭環境,在其中提供安全感、愛與親情,並鼓勵開放式與積極性的溝通,是一個關鍵。家庭成員可以參與心理健康教育與培訓,以提高他(她)們對心理健康問題的理解與應對技能。同時,為家庭成員提供心理健康支援與資源使大家能夠更好地瞭解與支持正面對心理健康挑戰的個人。

社會與家庭環境對個人心理健康有著深遠的影響。壓力、孤立、社會期望與汙名厭惡感等因素都可能導致精神困擾。然而,通過改善社會與家庭環境,咱們可以創造支援、理解與關懷的環境,促進大家的心理健康。

為了實現這一目標,至關重要的是優先考慮心理健康教育,提高認識並在社會層面消除汙名厭惡感。同時,培養親密的家庭關係並促進家庭內部的有效的互相溝通。

特區政府一直致力推行多項措施推動社會精神健康教育。舉例說明,2020年推出「我們對話嗎」(Shall We Talk)計劃。通過這些全面性的努力,政府向公眾傳播著有關心理健康的積極資訊,加強大伙們對心理健康的理解,並鼓勵有困難的個人及早尋求幫助與治療。目的是減少對精神疾病患者的誤解與歧視。此外,以特首李生為首的特區政府更致力於加強工作場所的心理健康支援。例如,《工作場所精神健康憲章》(Mental Health Charter for the Workplace)的實施旨在建立一個心理健康與富有支援性的工作環境。截至3月,全港已有近1,200個機構簽署了該約章。大家拇指竪起來。

筆者非常同意並樂見政府最近在「衛生署」轄下的精神健康諮詢委員會會議后宣佈10項相關加強支援措施。這些措施包括「醫院管理局」繼續探索為有需要的精神科治療病人開具較新型及不易產生副作用的口服或注射藥物。「醫院管理局」亦會完成對《精神健康條例》下「有條件釋放」(Conditional Release)機制的檢討,並在下月即將舉行的委員會會議上提交檢討結果。政府將根據檢討結果制定下一步措施。此外,「社會福利署」也會加強綜合社區精神健康中心的服務,加強對有精神健康需要人士的早期識別與及時醫療干預。

筆者深信、這如數家珍式的措施將有助於改善患者的治療結果與提高生活品質,同時減少心理健康問題對個人、家庭與社會所產生的負面影響。然而,這些措施也需要社會各界的支持與參與,以提高對精神衛生的廣泛認識與支援,並促進社會對精神衛生的理解與接受。
來、來、來,居於香港特區的中國人,咱們手拉著手,攜手「說好香港故事」。

文:劉建誠
「中國夢智庫」催眠、心理與輔導服務事務總監
(IAPC)催眠課程簽證講師、大師級臨床催眠治療師
(ABNLP)NLP執行師
中國高級企業EAP諮詢師

文:丁煌
深圳大學基本法研究中心兼職研究員
經民聯港島支部主席,「中國夢智庫」主席
城市智庫成員
國際公益法律服務協會顧問委員會成員
香港法學交流基金會副主席
全國港澳研究會會員

《中國夢智庫》是一間扎根特區的非牟利團體;與心存熱誠的資深義工、專家與職業專業人士們合作,攜手「說好中國故事」。

*作者文章觀點,不代表《觀新聞》立場