Stress – Main Reason for Decline in Health of Hong Kong People
In the crowded and competitive city, Hong Kong, pressure which appears in all age groups damages health of residents. According to the Department of Health (Public Health Information System, 2015), the main external death cause of Hongkongers were intentional self-harm. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified depressive illness is projected to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide in 2020. The main reason for the decline in health of Hongkongers are stress caused by the onerous educational system, taxing working environment and strict social conformity, but they can be resolved by reforming the educational system, modifying the work policies and implementing public stress management program to improve the health of Hongkonger. The purpose of this report is to present recommendations of stress relief.
To begin with, strain is caused from Hong Kong rigorous educational system which sorts students into institutions ranked hierarchically[A1]. This system compels schools to focus on the academic results and vie against one another in fierce competition (Ho, 2008). There are exorbitant expectation, excessive homework and frequent tests for students. A study found that the first-year tertiary education students in Hong Kong are prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress. The high rates of morbidity and high prevalence of symptoms were alarming (Wong, et al., 2006). In fact, the academic problems, such as disaffection, disruption and underachievement were stressors for not only the students, but also their family members (Service Network on Ethnic Minorities, 2010). In Hong Kong, parents arrange pre-school educations and extracurricular activities insanely for their children as they are extremely anxious about their development. The students with overestimated ability will doubt about their performance in getting others acceptance and agreement. Besides, extreme pressure from this onerous educational system may trigger mental disorder, social withdrawal and even self-destructive behaviors.
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Education Bureau (EDB) can modify the educational system to relieve the school related stress by promoting well-rounded development and self-regulated learning. The comprehensive educational infrastructure in the United State (US) is established in a stress-free environment (University of Michigan, 2015). EDB can reform the system by referring to the well-rounded teaching method in US which is innovative, for instance, role playing, use of computer games, simulation, experience method and application method (Vallance, et al., 2014). As well as changing the teaching method in school, EDB should modify the education orientation. EDB should fund a wide selection of curricula opportunities while the education should be more value oriented than career or money oriented. Teachers should focus on the imagination and creative ability of students. The main point is reforming the entrance examination of schools. This modification of educational system can discover creative personnel and decease the burden on students. It makes the teaching more enjoyable (Patankar & Jadhav, 2012). It motivates and stimulates students to develop happy normal lives as they can have their own goal. Thus, the school related stress, can be relieved. However, it takes time to change the operating mode of schools. EDB needs to collaborate with schools and provide a definite instruction so as to change the teaching method and selection system progressively.
Another argument is that the decline in health of Hongkongers arise when there is pressure from placing a strain in workplace. Work related pressure occurs where workers perceive they cannot subject or cope with the demands within the workplace. Overloaded work, long working time and nebulous career prospect inducing excessive or uncontrolled pressure disquiets Hongkongers. The Hong Kong worker stress level was at 55%. The value was ranked third in the world and higher than the global average (Sarti, 2012). Work strains go home with the worker while home strains come to work with the worker (Perth College, 2014). As the ability of workers were overestimated in tight workplace, which brings terrible consequence such as fatigue, muscle wastage, adult-onset diabetes and adverse lifestyle, it would disturb their ability to perform to expectation (OvercomeBullying.org, 2015).
It is time for the Legislative Council to formulate a work policies and legislation modification by referring to the cross-college Stress Management Policy and legislation in United Kingdom (UK) as a response to the decline in health of Hongkongers. The value of stress level of workers in UK was lower than the global average. Legislative Council can formulate this policy in Hong Kong in order to mitigate the occurrence of related potential harm from work. Under this policy, manager, supervisor and staff will be assigned responsibilities. The basic responsibility for managers are ensuring staffs are fully trained to discharge their duties. They should not only provide equivalent developmental opportunities for each staff, but also monitor workloads, working hours and overtime so as to ensure staffs are not overloaded or overworking. Supervisors are accountable for conduct Wellbeing and Staff Surveys to identify stressors in the workplace and ensure managers take appropriate actions to address the issues. Additionally, human resources staffs are in charge of conducting and implementing recommendations of risks assessments within their area of responsibility (Perth College, 2014). Along with acknowledging the responsibilities and ways to protect the mental wellbeing of themselves or their subordinate, work related pressure can be identified and managed by managers. Employee can seek assistance and support from their representative as early as possible as the policy requirement too. Therefore, the strain in workplace can be eliminated by protecting the autonomy and remuneration of all employees.On the other hand, as this legislation is related to settled responsibility of different stakeholders, it may cause dissension between each other easily. So, Legislative Council must hold a public advisory with promotion before the formulation.
From a social point of view, Hongkongers are accustomed to blind conformity which brings an exhausting lifestyle. It is well-known that Hong Kong is a fast paced city where workers all have busy work, school, social life and other commitments. They pursue to be efficient in any time. However, this conformity damages health progressively. For example, overeating fast food causes obesity, overusing internet brings visual impairment and staying up late with harm to mental well-being. Some residents claimed that the main reason for the decline in health of Hongkongers are the insalubrious lifestyle, smoking. It is because cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer (Public Health Information System, 2015). Although smoking is a lifestyle, it is a herd behavior. Hongkongers tend to follow the actions or beliefs of others. Under the social pressure, anyone who pursue to achieve social goals and have an intangible competition damage their health eventually.
Hospital Authority (HA) should focus on seeking collaboration with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in order to relieve pressure of Hongkongers by implementing public stress management program. Government health sector plays a leading role. HA is already leveraged on available capacity and capability in the private sector through public private partnership (PPP) for managing demands (Cheung, 2015). If HA focuses on community-based activities and prevention concurrently, it will arguably better place to approach and win the trust of local communities. Moreover, NGOs can make a close affinity with community by collaborating with other advocacy groups (Thara & Patel, 2010). Afterward, the seriousness of stress can spread widely by promotion and education which increase the awareness of the early signs of this treatable depressive disorder. Through the combined efforts from both the public and private sectors, this collaboration leads to an overall improvement in healthcare service quality. It alerts residents to have self-management of stress while early diagnosis and prevention benefit in further control of the health status. Nevertheless, a key problem in NGOs is the source of their funding which rise required to augment resources. To tackle this problem, Labour and Welfare Bureau can establish a fund for providing assistance to organization. It encourages the organization to strengthen the related activities by solving their economic burden.
This report describes stress is the main causes of the decline in health of Hongkongers. It reminds people about the fact that an anxious status is in hazard. A process of collaboration and communication across public and private domains that focuses on common goals can relieve stress of Hongkongers comprehensively. Education Bureau, Legislative Council and Hospital Authority should be the leaders in creating a new stress-free educational system, working condition and social ethos. Take it as a mutual responsibility to further partnership activities and monitor impact on the health of the public.
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