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It is natural for students sitting for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (DSE) to feel worried. You may worry about your prospects as well as possible changes to come. Amid the epidemic, you may also experience exceptional challenges when preparing for the DSE. Proper management of negative emotions and stress would help your maintain a good condition fit for facing future challenges. Plan in advanceCollect information on study and career in advance, and write down a few mock plans and options. You would feel more at ease with more concrete information at hand. Keep open for alternativesStay positive about various possible scenarios. Remind yourself that “there are more choices and alternatives than what we expect”, and try to make back up career and study plans that are suitable for you. Seek adviceYou may receive loads of information on further study. Advice from your teachers or peers with experience can ease your concerns. Share your views honestly with your parents enables them to understand you more and thus help you to make better choices. Enjoy the momentIf you start to feel worried, remind yourself that not much can be done to change the plans and extra worries will not help. Work out a daily schedule, focus on the present and enjoy some relaxing activities to free yourself from anxiety. Look for supportGather with your family and friends to relax and share with each other experience and ways of managing stress and anxiety. You may also share with them your stress before the release of the exam results via video calls amid the epidemic. Seek support immediately if you experience persistent negative emotions. Feeling stressed after the exam results are released? No worries, stay tuned to our website for information on stress relief after the release of the exam results. Last but not least, we wish each and every DSE candidates the best: do your best and no regrets! Reference Student Health Service, Department of Health: Emotional Health Tips The Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, The University of Hong Kong (Chinese only) Other Resources Student Health Service, Department of Health: Exam Stress Management Student Health Service, Department of Health: Stress of Exam Results Hok Yau Club & Radio Television Hong Kong: Podcast Online“Time to strive for DSE" (Chinese only) Shall We Talk: Practical Tips on Managing DSE Stress Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups: Supporting Zone of DSE (Chinese only)
The COVID-19 pandemic brings us different changes, such as school closures, reduction of social activities, and special arrangements of examinations, as well as different levels of stress. Excessive stress may cause different negative emotions, such as fear, confusion, worry, anger and anxiety. As such, it is very important to maintain our physical and mental health. Physical Health Tips One of the keys to maintaining physical and mental health is exercising. Physical exercise can enhance metabolism, prevent fat accumulation, and strengthen the immune system. Endorphin would also be released by the body during the process to make people feel relaxed and happy. Recently, we might have reduced the time spent on outdoor activities to reduce the risk of infection. Yet we can still do some simple exercises, such as standing, rope-skipping, and dancing, during the stay-at-home time. Follow the athletes below to do exercises together if you are interested! (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) For more videos of exercise at home demonstrated by other athletes, please click this link. In addition, please pay attention to personal hygiene and safety of home environment. Do not forget to do some warm-up exercises to reduce the risk of injury. Mental Health Tips As you spend more time to stay at home, you might reduce your contact with friends, feel bored, and have different emotions. The following four tips can be applied to strengthen your mental health. Stay connected with otherA simple greeting message, a phone call, or a video call can allow us to stay with each other in times of difficulty. Upgrade yourselfLet yourself continue to learn and stay fresh towards life. You can set a small goal for yourself during the pandemic, such as reading a book, practising a new song, or learning a new computer software. The small goal can enrich your life and equip yourself with a new skill. Be aware of your emotionIf you notice that you are encountering different emotions, such as anxiety, nervousness, or anger, take a deep breath. After that, you can attend to your feelings and take good care of your body. Help people in needDuring the pandemic, we can not only protect ourselves and family, but also offer our helping hands to other people, for instance, share our extra resources to needy people around us. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) Reference Student Health Service, Department of Health: Emotional Health Tips - Health Tips for Fighting the Virus (Students) (Chinese Only) Jockey Club “Loving Sports” Youth Development Programe - at Home Workouts (Chinese Only) New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association: Five Tips for Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy during the Pandemic (Chinese Only) Other Resources Student Health Service, Department of Health: Emotional Health Tips - Mental Health Resources Social Welfare Department: Clinical Psychological Service Branch - 2020 Psycho-education information Hub for Combatting the Novel Coronavirus New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association: 330 Wellbeing Tips
“Shall We Talk” is a mental health promotion and public education initiative launched by the Advisory Committee on Mental Health since July 2020. Singer Eason Chan has been appointed as the initiative's ambassador, and his classic Canto-pop song “Shall We Talk” (Chinese: 「陪我講」) has been chosen as the theme of the initiative to arouse public attention to mental well-being. The initiative’s theme song “Shall We Talk” is about family love and communication. Its simple and straightforward lyrics touch the hearts of many in Hong Kong, and encourage everyone to talk and share with others. Eason attaches great importance to mental well-being with his personal history of mental distress. As the initiative’s ambassador, he is dedicated to promoting mental health in the community and sending positive message to the public by performing a rearranged version of “Shall We Talk” and engaging in the production of videos as well as other publicity and educational materials. "Shall We Talk" one-stop dedicated website: https://shallwetalk.hk/en/(with abundant information such as mental well-being, common mental health problems, treatment, getting help, community support, activities and story sharing etc. There are also rich mental health related resources concerning schools and workplace) "Shall We Talk" Facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/shallwetalkhk20 "Shall We Talk" Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shallwetalkhk20
It has not been easy holding the first line of defence. Hats off to health workers who are engaged in combat, on the firing line, day after day.In seeking to protect patients and themselves at the same time, Dr. Chan Po Ling felt that coping with mental pressures was the most difficult part.While taking off her white coat after work each time, Dr. Chan would ask herself “Should I head home tonight?"“Would being home affect my loved ones?”“Should I rather stay in a hotel or hostel until the pandemic is over?” After all, the well-being of the family is on top of everyone’s mind.Indeed, medical workers are not lone soldiers in the battle. Look at the supporting staff, helpers, and cleaning ladies. They are all in this together. Nobody has the crowning glory. It is shared by each and everyone who is making a contribution to the fight against the coronavirus, one way or the other.Our appreciation goes to all medical workers and supporting staff, not to mention contributors from other sectors, including citizens who chip in by maintaining social distancing – every metre helps!
Handwashing simply means getting your hands wet under tap water, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. Handwashing can be a matter of profession when you take it seriously. Basically there are two ways of securing hand hygiene: one by liquid soap and water, and the other by alcohol-based hand-rub. With liquid soap and water It is advised to clean hands with liquid soap and water when hands are visibly dirty or visibly soiled with blood and body fluid, after using the toilet or changing the diapers. Steps:(i) Wet hands under running water.(ii) Apply liquid soap and rub hands together to make a soapy lather.(iii) Away from the running water, rub hands according to the 7 steps of hand hygiene technique for at least 20 seconds. Do not rinse off the soap while rubbing.(iv) Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.(v) Dry hands thoroughly with either a clean cotton towel or a paper towel.(vi) The cleaned hands should not touch the water tap directly again. For example: using a paper towel to wrap the faucet before turn it off. With alcohol-based handrub When hands are not visibly soiled, hand hygiene with 70-80% alcohol-based handrub is also an effective alternative. (Always check the expiry date before purchasing and using alcohol-based handrub.) Steps:(i) Apply a palmful of alcohol-based handrub to cover all surfaces of the hands. Rub hands according to the 7 steps of hand hygiene technique for at least 20 seconds until the hands are dry. There are three principles to note if you would like to be an expert of hand hygiene: Point 1：Rub hands with 7 stepsThat is the seven parts of your hand, i.e. Palms > Back of hands > Between fingers > Back of fingers > Thumbs > Finger tips > Wrists.Point 2：Rub hands at least 20 secondsPoint 3：Reminding Each Other to Keep Hands Clean Before you are ready to be a hand hygiene master, remember to always clean your hands in the following circumstances: (a) Before & after touching eyes, nose and mouth;(b) Before eating & preparing food;(c) After using the toilet;(d) When hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions, e.g. aftercoughing or sneezing;(e) After changing diapers or handling soiled items from children orthe sick;(f) After touching animals, poultry or their droppings;(g) After handling garbage;(h) After touching public installations or equipment, such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs;(i) Before and after visiting hospitals, residential care homes or caring for the sick; and last but not least, "Any time you find your hands dirty."
As another new year approaches, we set out a lot of new targets as usual. Almost everyone will put "healthy" onto their New Year wish list. So let’s talk about health. Below are some references: the government has set out nine local targets on public health and non-communicable diseases to be achieved by 2025. Let’s see how many you can achieve. Target 1: Reduce premature mortality from NCD(A 25% relative reduction in risk of premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory diseases)- Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are major causes of ill-health, disability and death. If not addressed, NCD poses threats to individual’s health and well-being, and family, healthcare system, society, productivity and socioeconomic development. Target 2: Reduce harmful use of alcohol(At least 10% relative reduction in the prevalence of binge drinking and harmful use of alcohol (harmful drinking/alcohol dependence) among adults and in the prevalence of drinking among youth)- Alcohol use is a component cause of more than 200 disease and injury conditions, including heart diseases, cancers, liver diseases, a range of mental and behavioural disorders, and other non-communicable diseases. Alcohol use accounts for considerable health-care resource use, personal suffering, morbidity, death and social consequences. Target 3: Reduce physical inactivity(A 10% relative reduction in the prevalence of insufficient physical activity among adolescents and adults)- Physical inactivity is estimated to be the principal cause for approximately 21–25% of breast and colon cancer burden, 27% of diabetes and approximately 30% of ischaemic heart disease burden. Maintaining high amounts and intensities of physical activity starting from childhood and continuing into adult years will bring many health benefits, including increased physical fitness (both cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength), reduced body fatness, favourable cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk profiles, enhanced bone health and reduced symptoms of depression. Target 4: Reduce salt intake(A 30% relative reduction in mean population daily intake of salt/sodium)- High salt consumption contributes to raised blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Target 5: Reduce tobacco use(A 30% relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco use in persons aged 15+ years)- Tobacco kills people prematurely. On average, tobacco users lose 15 years of life. Up to half of all tobacco users will die of tobacco related causes. Smoking contributes to 14% of all deaths from non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and lung disease. Target 6: Contain the prevalence of raised blood pressure- Raised blood pressure (hypertension) is a major cardiovascular risk factor. If left uncontrolled, it can cause heart attacks, stroke, dementia, renal failure and blindness. Hypertension rarely causes symptoms in the early stages and many people go undiagnosed. Early detection, adequate treatment and good control of hypertension are effective in reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. Target 7: Halt the rise in diabetes and obesity- Diabetes of all types (type 1, type 2, impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glycaemia, gestational diabetes) can lead to complications in many parts of the body, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, leg amputation, vision loss and nerve damage, leading to disability and premature death. Diabetes imposes a large economic burden on the health-care system and the wider economy. Overweight and obesity are the strongest risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Obesity also increases the likelihood of developing other non-communicable diseases such as cancers. Target 8: Prevent heart attacks and strokes through drug therapy and counselling- People with multiple risk factors, such as smoking, raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol and/or diabetes have a higher 10-year risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke, coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease and heart failure occurring. Population-based interventions alone will not be sufficient to prevent heart attacks and strokes for people at such risk level. Providing drug therapy (including glycaemic control of diabetes mellitus and control of hypertension using a total risk approach) and counselling to high-risk individuals are important to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Target 9: Improve availability of affordable basic technologies and essential medicines to treat major NCD- Without effective medicines and essential diagnostic and monitoring equipment made available at health facilities to treat non-communicable diseases (NCD), patients will suffer short and long term adverse effects from their disease. Sustainable health-care financing, health policies that safeguard equitable access, adequate and reliable procurement systems for basic health technologies and essential NCD medicines, training of healthcare workers, and evidence-based treatment guidelines and protocols are all necessary for effective management of NCD. Plus: the 10th target, proposed by the editor, is to maintain your mental wellness. (Click here to read more about Strategy and Action Plan for Prevention and Control of NCD in Hong Kong)