A Hong Kong expert in mindfulness, Professor Samuel Wong Yeung-shan, believes that mindfulness meditation-type therapy can be beneficial for individuals coping with mental health issues. He advocates for the promotion of mindfulness therapy in the city and suggests the introduction of more subsidized services for mindfulness under the primary healthcare system.
According to Wong, although mindfulness meditation has many benefits, beginners often find it difficult to learn on their own. Private sessions are available but come at a cost, which acts as a barrier for many individuals. Wong suggests making mindfulness services more accessible by offering them at government-backed district health centers or express stations.
The Chinese University’s Thomas Jing Centre for Mindfulness Research and Training provides mindfulness training, services, and conducts research. So far, over 24,000 people have attended classes and training sessions offered by the center, including free online workshops.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves focusing on breathing methods and guided imagery to increase awareness of sensations and feelings. Previous research has suggested that mindfulness could be an alternative to antidepressants for individuals experiencing symptoms of depression.
Wong emphasizes that taking care of a patient’s mental health could also help manage other chronic conditions. Studies have shown that mindfulness can be beneficial for those with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and substance abuse.
Stanley Chan Kam-chung, an instructor at the university’s mindfulness center, notes that there has been a growing acceptance of mindfulness in Hong Kong, especially among individuals coping with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and social restrictions.
Mindfulness therapy has shown promising results for individuals like Jenny Fung, a retired florist in her 60s who used mindfulness to improve her mental health and manage her high blood pressure. Fung’s blood pressure began improving after just 10 days of practicing mindfulness.
Psychiatrist Ivan Mak Wing-chit acknowledges that mindfulness is a non-pharmaceutical approach to mental health issues and recommends it to patients, particularly those with anxiety, insomnia, and eating disorders. He suggests that mindfulness should be seen as one of the tools in the “mental health toolbox.”
– Professor Samuel Wong Yeung-shan, director of Chinese University’s Thomas Jing Centre for Mindfulness Research and Training
– The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Mindfulness Training website