Exercise call as ‘blue index’ rises

PEOPLE who often feel blue should do more aerobic exercises to stay positive, mental health experts advise.

The call comes as the ‘depression index’ for Hongkongers reached a new high, a study has found.

The study, conducted last year by the Mental Health Association (香港心理衞生會) of Hong Kong, found that about 5.5 percent of respondents were identified as suffering from depression, while another 9.1 percent fell into the ‘case for concern’ category.

Both were higher than the results in similar studies in 2012 and 2014.

The association analysed about 2,500 questionnaires collected at 36 street polling stations to obtain the results.

The questionnaire asked participants whether they felt tired and lacked energy, and whether they had any suicidal thoughts in the past fortnight, and the frequency of such thoughts.

It was found that 14.6 percent of the participants were depressed or marginal cases - three percentage points higher than in previous studies.

The association said the government should work with all sectors of society to formulate a long-term mental health policy, especially in prevention and education.

Mental health education should be taught at a young age, it added, and the government should put more resources on increasing youngsters’ and the public’s mental health knowledge and their prevention ability.

Academic Stephen Sun Yu-kit (孫玉傑) said: “The more one does aerobic exercise, the less likely one will have a high depression level.”

The World Health Organisation said more people will suffer from depression, which will become the leading cause of disease burden globally.

(This article is published on Sing Tao Daily on 2 February 2017)

The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong

Youth mental health – Hong Kong