Mental illness affecting more young people

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Issue 1131, Page 3
Word count: 365
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Mental illness is affecting more young people nowadays and therefore education is crucial to teach them how to deal with stress in their lives, according to the charity organisation Richmond Fellowship of Macau.

The annual World Mental Health Day will be held on October 10 and a string of activities, workshops and seminars will be organised throughout this month with the aim of raising awareness about mental health and well-being in Macau.

According to Jones Sou Keng Ieong, director of the Richmond Fellowship of Macau, a charity organisation that provides residential and skills training services for formerly-mentally ill people, prevention of mental illness is particularly important.

Sou said the fellowship plans to cooperate with local schools in a bid to increase young people’s knowledge of mental health.

A mental health seminar will also be held at schools where teaching staff can learn about the importance of education to prevent mental disorders, he added.

There is a growing trend in Macau where more young people are suffering from mental illness, according to Sou, with the youngest patient of the fellowship being 17 years old.

“When young people are disturbed by stress, we want to let them know what services and institutes can help them face their problems,” he told reporters.

“As for parents, teachers and friends, they need to learn more about mental health so that they can also help prevent the problem from getting worse among the youngsters,” he added.

Meanwhile, the fellowship’s halfway house in the Mong-Há Social Housing Quarter will be expanded from 15 to around 40 bed spaces after the public housing is reconstructed.

“The number of people on our waiting list is increasing every year. So far we have nearly 10 people still waiting to move into the facility,” Sou said.

It usually takes around one to two years until a formerly-mentally ill person can finish the skills training and is ready to leave the halfway house, he added.

The Conde de São Januário Hospital’s Psychiatry Building in Taipa and the halfway house of the Richmond Fellowship will be open to the public from 10.30 am to 4 pm tomorrow for the public to come and learn more about the facilities.

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