October 10 each year marks World Mental Health Day, a global initiative that encourages an open dialogue to raise awareness and offer support to improve mental health and wellbeing. As an organisation that prides itself on creating a supportive professional environment for our global network of Members, this is quite naturally an important day for The Executive Centre. We view #WMHD as an opportunity to show that we are serious about our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive working environment for both our Members and our team. We hope that conversations prompted by this day will lead to sustained and meaningful change in our community and beyond. This year, we marked #WMHD with events throughout our network, including a special lunchtime session in partnership with Shared Value Project Hong Kong.
Pause for Thought
In partnership with Shared Value Project Hong Kong, we welcomed Dr Amy Chan from CUHK Diversity & Well-being Lab to our Champion Tower Centre for #WMHD to learn more about resources and strategies for managing stress, anxiety and depression. Hong Kong is an incredibly fast-paced city where long working hours can quickly erode a healthy work/life balance. Dr Chan began the lunchtime session with a short mindfulness meditation, an opportunity for everyone in attendance to take a break to simply be present and prepare for the workshop. This practical introduction to mindfulness is something participants were encouraged to explore in their own time as a simple and effective tool that can carve out a moment of calm in an otherwise busy day.
Dr Chan explained that Hong Kong is seriously under-resourced in terms of psychologists and psychiatrists when compared with other countries. She also showed that the younger generation in Hong Kong is disproportionately affected by stress, depression and anxiety when compared to other age groups, with a reluctance from all demographics to seek professional help. In short, the collective picture of mental health in Hong Kong is something that is going to require serious effort if we are to make positive and meaningful changes.
Dr Chan promoted strategies that both organisations and individuals can implement to encourage better mental wellbeing.
- Corporate mental health programs need buy-in from senior leadership to really succeed
- Be open to asking if someone is ok, and be confident in letting them know you hear them, even if you can’t completely understand what they are going through
- Familiarise yourself with online resources if you find it difficult to address mental health problems in person
- Taking time every day to practice even a few minutes of mindfulness can help manage stress and anxiety
A Pledge to do Better
In addition to this event, on #WMHD, TEC announced our part in a collective pledge by corporate members of Shared Value Project Hong Kong to improve mental wellbeing at work and reduce stigma around mental health in HK. We are proudly acting on these 3 Pledge Principles:
- Raise awareness of mental well-being topics and resources available in and out of work.
- Ensure and signpost policies that support a mental well-being-friendly environment.
- Promote activities beneficial to employees’ mental well-being proportionately to other wellness activities.