Public Policy Bulletin (9th Issue - June 2024)

3 The “Family First” Responsibility Pattern Participants felt that family members should be consulted first when seeking help. Family relationships were closely tied to mental health and decisions regarding treatment were generally made within family units. Friends and neighbors were seen as having limited capacity to provide support. Openness to Professional Care with Doubts Participants expressed a willingness to seek professional mental healthcare services, but doubts and challenges hindered their willingness to access high-quality care. Cultural beliefs and socioeconomic status often lead them to informal or traditional care practices. Some participants were skeptical about professional care while others believe in self-regulation and self-treatment. Barriers in Accessing and Receiving Mental Health Services Language differences, insufficient resources, and a lack of culturally sensitive services within the public health system were identified as barriers to accessing mental health services. Participants expressed concern about communication and low service quality in hospitals. Limited awareness of available services and low utilization of community centers further discourage participants from accessing care. Opportunities to Promote Mental Health Services Participants recommended increasing awareness of the need for MHL among EMs in Hong Kong by disseminating information more effectively. They suggested providing printed or online materials in their native languages and conducting activities in their communities. Digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube were seen as effective information channels. Participants emphasized the need for enhanced communication, counseling services, and robust provision of government-sponsored mental health services. They also recommended shifting resources from food-based initiatives to consistent healthcare support. Recommendations Tailored Programs for Enhancing Mental Health Knowledge There is an urgent need to expand comprehensive programs designed specifically to enhance mental health knowledge among EMs in Hong Kong. These programs should address the unique needs of these communities and reflect their cultural beliefs and traditions. To ensure effectiveness, a multi-faceted approach encompassing offline and online platforms should be adopted. Strengthening Community Partnerships to Improve Mental Health Literacy To enhance MHL among EMs, strong partnerships with community organizations and key stakeholders are crucial. Such partnerships can facilitate the development and implementation of culturally appropriate mental health initiatives. Collaboration with community and religious leaders should be prioritized to promote mental health awareness. Additionally, the establishment of community mental health ambassadors—individuals who are passionate about mental health with strong communication skills—should be considered. Providing Continuing Education and Training for Care Providers To ensure the provision of culturally sensitive and effective mental health services for EMS in Hong Kong, it is imperative to prioritize continuous education and training for healthcare and social care providers. Such training should be offered to social workers, mental health professionals, and other caregivers. Cultural competency training must be developed, with a focus on enhancing providers’ understanding of cultural beliefs, practices, and language, enabling them to deliver culturally sensitive care. Inclusivity Improvement Plan within the Public Healthcare System To address the specific mental health needs of EMs in Hong Kong, an inclusive improvement plan within the public healthcare system must be developed and implemented. Adequate resource allocation will enhance the availability and accessibility of mental health services for EMs. Community outreach efforts should be fostered through partnerships with community centers, religious institutions, and grassroots organizations to establish satellite mental health clinics or dedicated outreach programs within EM communities. Additionally, improving language-support services, through professional interpreters and translators, within healthcare settings is essential for effective communication with EM patients. Main Reference Naubahar Sharif, Chen Wenjin*, and Niu Mengyuan. (2024). “The Intersection of Ethnicity and Public Health System: Shaping Mental Health Literacy and Help-Seeking of Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong” Working Paper. Available online since 15 May 2024 at https://emmh.hkust. Public Policy BULLETIN Promoting Mental Health Equity: Enhancing Ethnic Minority Mental Health Literacy and Help-Seeking in Hong Kong