Promoting Mental Health in the Community
Scientific evidence indicates that positive emotions can bring benefits to our health, and the need to maintain a healthy and positive psychological state is important to help us deal with daily uncertainties and anxieties.
“Positive psychology is about building up strength of characters, especially those positive attributes, in order to maintain the mental well-being in the long run,” says Dr Liman Li Man-wai, Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology and Co-Director of the Centre for Psychosocial Health, The Education University of Hong Kong.
To promote students’ mental health, Dr Li says that the Department of Psychology is formulating a three-year Learning & Teaching project, in collaboration with other academic units of the University. Entitled “A better place to Learn: School and Student Wellbeing”, the project aims to cultivate the message of positive learning and promote positive psychology among local secondary schools through interactive programmes.
Starting the next academic year, the Department is also launching a new master’s programme entitled “Master of Arts in Positive Psychology in Education”, with an initial intake of 40 students. The programme is one of the first master’s programmes in Hong Kong to address the interplay between positive psychology and positive education. It is also one of the first in Asia to provide professional training in these two areas with equal emphasis on theory and practice.
As the programme leader, Dr Li says: “The programme aims to provide a comprehensive range of professional knowledge and training in diverse educational and community settings, so as to enable students coming from different sectors to apply and promote the concept of positive thinking and mental health in their respective industries.” One of the special features of the programme is the award of certificate presented by The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong to those who complete the “Youth Mental Health First Aid” elective course. They will become qualified Youth Mental Health First Aiders.
In addition to its focus on the school setting, Dr Li says the Department is developing new initiatives to reach out to different community sectors. A Psychosocial Health/Well-being research group, established by the Department of Psychology and members from other departments, has been exploring the mental health status of different interpersonal relationships, such as parents with children, teacher groups and working couples.