The EOC Reports on Work Plans and Progress on Policy and Research
Members of the Policy and Research Committee (PARC) of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met on 27 June 2013 (Thursday) at the 19th PARC Meeting and discussed various matters related to the Commission’s work on research and advocacy.
Members discussed a draft Position Paper on Mental Health Policy. The EOC has always been concerned about the issue of stigmatization against persons with mental illness in our society. According to the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey 2010-2013 commissioned by the Food and Health Bureau, one in seven of those aged between 16 and 75 suffered from various levels of neurotic symptoms. The illness not only affects an individual’s quality of life, but also places great economic burden on the society.
Of different people with a disability in Hong Kong, people with mental illness form the most misunderstood group. They are generally perceived to be violent, suicidal and unpredictable. Stigmatization attached to mental illness can lead to concealment and social exclusion, which prevents early detection and timely treatment. Stigmatization against persons with mental illness and lack of public acceptance also deprive them of job opportunities, accommodation and social interaction.
Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, discrimination on the ground of a person’s mental illness is unlawful. The EOC received an average of around 100 complaints of disability discrimination on the ground of mental illness each year from 2010 to 2012. On average, around 70% of the complaints investigated were related to employment.
While the Government has made efforts to put in more resources to improve mental health services in recent years, there is a lack of long-term planning and a comprehensive policy to tackle mental health issues from prevention to rehabilitation.
In an effort to develop a comprehensive position paper on mental health, Members deliberated on the prevention of mental illness among Hong Kong people, enhancing the medical services and community support for mental patients, eliminating discrimination against persons with mental illness, as well as rehabilitating and re-integrating ex-mental patients into the community.
The EOC will consult the key stakeholders such as mental health service users and their family members, healthcare professionals and social workers on their views about an effective mental health policy. The finalized EOC’s Position Paper will be submitted to the Government with an appeal for action.
Media enquiries: Ms. Mariana LAW (Tel : 2106-2226)
Equal Opportunities Commission
27 June 2013