The Mental Health School Tour - “Talk with the Flow”
The Mental Health School Tour - “Talk with the Flow” was organised by the Department of Health and fully supported by HKU CEDARS. With an aim to raise awareness and destigmatize mental health issues, the Tour made its first stop at HKU. Honorable guests, including representatives from the Health Bureau, the Department of Health, the Advisory Committee on Mental Health, and our Dean of Student Affairs joined hands to kick off the tour.
The week-long campaign reached over 2,300 students at HKU. A mobile kiosk was parked on the Centennial Campus as a pop-up gathering point for souvenir distribution, mental health information sharing and installation display. Students were invited to participate in various off-site activities, including a Mindfulness Workshop, Singing Bowl Workshop, Zentangle Workshop, Floating Cinema, and two Mental Sharing sessions facilitated by TreeHole HK and StoryTaler. These valuable opportunities fostered students to deepen their understanding of mental health and facilitated the flow of mental health conversations on campus.
Weather The Storm
“Weather The Storm” is an online psychological self-help resource hub that aims to bring insights and tips to help students navigate through their emotional weather. Students could learn about common emotions and ways to embrace them from a wide range of informative resources. They could also explore different ways to manage or alleviate distress. Additionally, Weather The Storm offers a selection of psychoeducational videos, self-help tools, inspirational quotes, and support services to empower students on their journey towards emotional wellbeing.
"CoPE Together" Online Campaign
CoPE published a series of bilingual tips, namely “CoPE Together” to strengthen the coping skills of students during the special teaching period. They addressed common psychological responses and key concerns as observed among students. The tips were introduced via various online platforms, including the HKU website, HKU social media, HKU COVID-19 Info Hub and U-Vision. Students and viewers from the community would benefit from practising self-care exercises and useful skills to better manage their wellbeing and support their peers and family.
"Very You × Ann Choi" Photo Exhibition
The fundamental ingredients for self-confidence are thorough self-understanding and honest self-appraisal. CoPE jointly developed the "Very You" project with Ms. Ann Choi, a high-caliber photographer in the multimedia industry, to address students’ personal identities. In an unconventional photography workshop, Ann guided students to explore their inner psyche. They were required to take turns to be a model and a photographer in order to unfold the “Very You” of each other. “Larger-than-life” student portraits taken by Ann in the workshop, alongside those attempted by the students, were exhibited on campus to demonstrate the fruits of their dynamic journeys of self-exploration. The Photo Exhibition attracted over 1000 visitors to feel the palpating energy of youth under the artistic lens and to reflect upon their own identities at the same time.
Chillax • Sunset Handicraft Market
Stress management can be fun and chill. CoPE lined up more than 20 student artists and the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups to man handicraft stalls and art workshops. Students could either take a nice stroll in the market or sit down to appreciate the meditative process of handicraft production while being surrounded by a swinging flow of light-hearted music performed by student buskers.
Superpass Lane [勁過里]
The examination period can be stressful. The two-day event reached out to over 500 students before their examinations. Stalls were set up to cheer for students and to give them practical study tips or encouraging messages.
Superpass Fruit Stall (勁果欄) - distributed free Superpass fruit (pears) snacks;
Superpass ‘Cheer you on’ Stall (打氣亭) - a postcard writing platform for students to write encouraging words to themselves and their friends. An “Emotion-vending Machine” created by fellow students allowed other students to understand their emotions and receive a message of wisdom;
Chinese Fortune Stall (開運檔) - students were invited to draw a “Chinese fortune stick” (求簽) for useful study tips; and
Music busking (勁過金曲) - songs were specifically chosen to instill positive energy to cheer students on.
University-wide Suicide Prevention
As a response to the suicide contagion among young people, a series of preventive activities was organised to promote university-wide engagement in suicide prevention and to encourage help-seeking behaviours.
Urgent sessionswere provided to students who are at risk of suicide.
Suicide prevention postcards and eye-catching posterswere designed and distributed widely on campus, as well as publicized on social media, to inform students of the available support and resources on campus and in the community. Faculties and staff of different units joined hands with CoPE to support students in distress. A referral info pack was uploaded to our website for staff’s reference.
CEDARS and cafe330 co-organized two campaigns to promote healthy living and mutual support. “Food for Love; Love for Food” Photo Campaign promoted positive attitudes, raised students’ awareness of healthy eating, and encouraged them to express gratitude to their loved ones. Students were asked to share pictures of food with a positive caption on our Facebook Page and the cafe330 board to spread positivity on campus. “Lucky Star x Superpass [來自星星的祝福]” promoted peer support and positive mindsets which are especially needed during the examination period. Students were invited to pick lucky stars with words of encouragement and make their own lucky stars with a positive message in exchange for a cafe330 cash coupon.
The stigma of mental illnesses forms deleterious barriers to the enjoyment of psychological health and high quality of life. Worst still, it can lead to social isolation and an increased sense of helplessness. Awareness-raising efforts are important to confront misunderstandings, combat negative attitudes towards mental illnesses, and assure support and empowerment. This one-year campaign promoted an anti-stigma attitude towards mental illnesses and cultivated compassion on campus.
“HEA Kiosk” Project – A Social Inclusion Service Learning Project
To further promote the principles embraced by HEA Concept Store and to deepen students’ understanding of social inclusion, the HEA Kiosk was set up and jointly managed by students and people-in-recovery (PIR) with mental illnesses. This provided a platform for students to engage in activities that facilitate greater social integration and provide a vocational training ground for PIR.
Apart from daily operations, the team organized special events to promote a healthy lifestyle, social inclusion, and mental health awareness:
“HEA 住過三” (April 2011) – a three-day event to distribute lucky charms, organic tea, and cookies during the pre-examination period.
Super Pass Wall (April 2012) – a wish wall for students to write their good wishes to each other during the pre-examination period.
HEA Fair: Food and Living (March 2013) – a two-day fair with booths set up for food tasting, selling quality green, organic, and fair-trade products, and promoting the business concept of social enterprises.
Pathfinding: Exhibition on Learning Opportunities at HKU
It was co-organized by the CEDARS and the Academic Advising Office (AAO) with an aim to showcase a wide spectrum of learning opportunities and student support services outside classrooms. This event had been organized consecutively for three years from 2011 to 2014.
411 Series: Mental Health Talks
This series aimed at raising the awareness of mental health problems that are commonly found in the university population. Psychiatrists were invited to talk about depression, suicide, and early psychoses (including bipolar affective disorder and organic psychoses). In the first three talks, speakers offered the latest information on clinical features, illness experiences, and up-to-date treatments for these mental health problems. The last talk focused on how HKU supported students with such mental health needs.
Time Cannot Be Recycled – Think before You Spend
The event aimed to raise students' awareness that good self-understanding is the key to effective time management. A good understanding of personal values, personality, and life goals can lead to a better investment of our time and a more efficient alignment of activities towards the goals. Activities included an exhibition of typical timetables adopted by our students and assessments on time management attitudes.
C for CoPE: Ways to Achieve University Success
This two-week programme aimed to enhance students' competence in attaining university success. Through an interactive learning game featuring university journey, self-help assessments of their own academic efficacy and university adjustment, and a "Visualising CoPE" display, students were introduced to the resources and opportunities for building a successful university experience. They were also introduced to the new self-testing platform, "Psychometer" for monitoring their personal growth.
Series on Adversity Coping (SAC)
It was a one-month campaign held in the midst of the financial crisis in 2009. It aimed to enhance our psychological qualities and reassess our Strategies, Attitudes, and Communication skills in the face of adversities. There were a keynote speech, a film screening, a slogan T-shirt design competition, workshops, and an alumni sharing session. For more information, please visit the website of Series on Adversity Coping.
Out of the Ordinary – Alternative Beauty of HK
Uniqueness and natural beauty can be found everywhere. Sometimes we do not even notice the natural beauty in people, things, and places around us. Introducing “appreciation of beauty and excellence”, one of the 24 character strengths, we held a one-month photo exhibition entitled “Out of the Ordinary – Alternative Beauty of HKU” in 2009 to showcase the impressive works by Mr. Cliff Lui, an HKU graduate. His works highlighted the alternative beauty of HKU that we may have overlooked in the hustle and bustle of city life.
Life Investment Series: Diversity of Love
Diversity of Love was to highlight “love”, one of the 24 character strengths, and our capability to value and maintain a caring, close, and reciprocal relationship with others. Through a series of seminars, guest speakers led thought-provoking discussions on meaningful and affectionate relationships with boyfriend/ girlfriend (“Love and Sex”), partners (“Love Beyond Boundaries”), parents, and animals (“Police Dogs – My Work Partner”).
HEA Concept Store
The “HEA Concept Store” promoted a holistic lifestyle, social inclusion, and mental health awareness. This social inclusion service-learning initiative was jointly organized by CEDARS and the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (“New Life”), a non-profit making non-governmental organization. Books about mental health, environmentally-friendly commodities, fair trade food items, and handicrafts created by underprivileged communities were available at the store. Students and staff were encouraged to contribute to the betterment of their own life and the world by being conscientious and socially responsible consumers. The concept store was later transformed into the HEA Kiosk in 2011 and has since reached out to more students with a variety of events.
Life Investment Series: Making Smart Moves
Making Smart Moves was a three-week campaign which promoted positive character strengths and attitudes. Highlights of the Campaign included a stunning installation at Sun Yat-sen Place, Life Investment Game, Personality Portraits and a circuit exhibition on 24 character strengths on the Main Campus), the Sassoon Road Campus (Medical Campus) and the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, Faculty of Dentistry.