Mental Health and our community
According to World Health Organization (WHO), 1 out of 10 people in the world is diagnosed with mental illness, and in China, the rate is 1 out of 13. In other words, 100 million of people in China have lived experience of mental illness. In Taiwan, 1 in 4 people is living with common mental disorders.
Uneven Distribution of Psychological Well-Being Professions around the World
World Health Organization (WHO) points out that the main challenges of providing psychological therapies and services in low-and-middle-income countries include a lack of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists and social workers.
In low-income countries, there is only 1 psychiatrist in every 2 million people and 1 psychiatric nurse in every 240,000 people.
In contrast, high-income countries have 170 times more psychiatrists and 70 times more psychiatric nurses than that in low-and-middle-income countries.
Situation in Hong Kong
The Hospital Authority (HA) of Hong Kong mentioned in the Hospital Authority Mental Health Service Plan for Adults 2010-2015 that, according to current global data, there is approximately 1 - 1.7 million of Hong Kong people affected by mental health problems. 70,000 - 200,000 of them are living with severe mental illnesses. In 2013-2014, around 205,000 people living with mental illness of different severities received psychiatric specialist services provided by the Hospital Authority, which is a 24% rise comparing to the numbers in 2009-2010.
In a recent mental health survey carried out in Hong Kong (Lam et al., 2015), the 1-week prevalence rate of common mental disorders* is 13.3% among 5971 respondents (aged 18 to 75). Yet, only 26% of them seek help from psychiatric specialist services in the previous year.
*Common mental disorders include major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, other anxiety disorders and mixed depressive and anxiety disorder.
Mental Health services in Hong Kong
Mental health related professions
Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are the two main psychiatric or mental health related professions In Hong Kong.


A Bachelor degree in Medicine, trainings in psychiatric specialist services and professional qualification are required to become a psychiatrist in Hong Kong.


According to Hong Kong Psychology Association (HKPA), to become a qualified clinical psychologist in Hong Kong, one must attain a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (or equivalent), a Master or Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and have sufficient numbers of hours of supervised clinical placement.

Psychiatric Specialist Services in Hong Kong
Psychiatric specialist services in Hong Kong include psychiatric specialist services provided by the Hospital Authority and clinical psychological services from the Social Welfare Department (SWD).
Psychiatric Specialist Services from HKHA
There are mainly three kinds of psychiatric specialist services under the Hong Kong Hospital Authority:

From the statistics in 2008,
of patients reach out to the specialist out-patient clinics and the utilization rate of specialist out-patient clinics is the highest among the three services.
Clinical Psychological Services from the Social Welfare Department
There are five clinical psychology units under the Social Welfare Department and they are located in different districts of Hong Kong. The services they provide include psychological assessment, intelligence assessments as well as different psychotherapies. When necessary, they will refer clients to other services such as psychiatric medical treatments and residential placements.
Apart from the above-mentioned services, the Hospital Authority and the Social Welfare Department also provide outreach services and run the Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness respectively. Besides, there are also quite a number of Non-Government Organizations that provide community services to people.
Overview of Psychiatric Specialist Services in Hong Kong
Are there sufficient mental health services for people who are in need in Hong Kong? Let us take a look on the numbers and ratios of mental-health related professions in Hong Kong’s and America’s population.

Number of mental-health related professions (per 100,000 people):
United States
Clinical psychologist:
Hong Kong
Clinical psychologist:

Compared to the United States, the number of clinical psychologist and psychiatrist are relatively low.
Considering this ratio, every clinical psychologist in Hong Kong has to be responsible for the mental health of 17,000 Hong Kong citizens. Compared to the United States (about 1:3500), the ratio in Hong Kong is clearly much lower . The lack of human resources leads to longer waiting time for mental health services.
Source: World Health Organization

Waiting time
(Psychiatric specialist)

HK East HK West KLN Central KLN East KLN West NT East NT West
Intake, Urgent 1 Week 1 Week 1 Week 1 Week Less than 1 week 1 Week 1 Week
Intake, Semi-stable 3 Week 4 Week 4 Week 3 Week 3 Week 4 Week 3 Week
Intake, Stable 33 Week 91 Week 57 Week 105 Week 75 Week 100 Week 67 Week
The above numbers are for reference only; please refer to Hospital Authority website for the latest waiting time and any other related information.
If the waiting time in my cluster is long, can I go to other clusters?
In order to streamline with other community support services in the district, psychiatric specialist services do not support inter-cluster service.

Community resources

Residential Service
Supported hostel
Provides group home living for people in recovery with disabilities who can only live semi-independently with a fair amount of assistance from hostel staff in daily activities.
Halfway house
Provides a transitional period of residential care to facilitate people in recovery to improve their ability of living independently for community reintegration.
Long stay care house
Provides residential care for people in recovery who are in a stable state yet still in need of nursing care.
Day Training or Vocational Rehabilitation Service
Including but not limited to the following:
Shelter workshop
Provide appropriate vocational training under specially designed environment to people in recovery who cannot proceed to open employment due to inabilities, the workshop helps develop their social and economic potentials to the fullest and enhance their working ability.
Supported employment
Provide employment support to people in recovery to facilitate employments in open settings.
Integrated Vocational Rehabilitation Services Centre
Provide people in recovery with one-stop, integrated and seamless vocational rehabilitation services including work training under specially designed environment to facilitate them to develop social and economic potential which prepare them for future employment
Work Extension Program (WEP)
Provide services for trainees of shelter workshop or integrated vocational rehabilitation services center who aged 40 or above and could not continue working due to old age or deterioration in work abilities. The services include work activities for sustaining residual work abilities, social and developmental programs and caring activities for meeting the health and physical needs of trainees.

Community Support Service

Parents/ relatives resource center
Provide caregivers of people in recovery with a platform for communication and mutual help
Self-help organizations of people with disabilities/ chronic illness
Aim at improving community welfare and rights and allowing members to support one another who have similar struggles through caring, sharing experiences and communication
Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (ICCMW)
The ICCMW provides one-stop, district-based, and accessible community support and social rehabilitation services, ranging from early prevention to risk management, for people in recovery, people with suspected mental health problems, their families / caregivers and residents living in that district.
Scope of services
  • Drop-in services
  • Outreaching services
  • Casework counseling
  • Therapeutic and supportive group work services
  • Networking services, including social and recreational activities

  • Day training
  • Outreaching occupational therapy training services
  • Public education programs to promote mental health
  • Referral to the Community Psychiatric Service of the Hospital Authority for clinical assessment or psychiatric treatment
*people in need can choose from the available ICCMW services according to the district they live in.
Target group
The target groups of ICCMW are people living in the district, including:
  • People in recovery aged 15 or above
  • People with suspected mental health problems aged 15 or above
  • Family members/ caregivers of the above mentioned people
  • Residents who would like to know more about/ improve mental health
List of ICCMW and Corresponding Contact Information:
Central, Western and Southern District
Tung Wah Group of Hospitals
2814 2837
Fu Hong Society
2518 3880
Islands District
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
2363 5718
Eastern District
Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service
2967 0902
Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong
2505 4287
Wan Chai
Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service
3413 1641
Wong Tai Sin
Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong
2322 3794
Kwun Tong
The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong
2346 3798/ 2116 0503
Tsuen Kwan O (South)
Christian Family Service Centre
3521 1611
Sai Kung and Tseung Kwan O (North)
Stewards Limited
2633 3117
Kowloon City
The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, Hong Kong
2332 5332
Yau Tsim Mong
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
2977 8900
Sham Shui Po
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
2319 2103
Tsuen Wan
Caritas Hong Kong
3105 5337
Kwai Tsing
Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service
2434 4569
Kwai Chung
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
3552 5420
Sha Tin
Stewards Limited
2645 1263
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
3552 5460
Tai Po
The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong
2651 8132
Northern District
Caritas Hong Kong
2278 1016
Yuen Long
The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, Hong Kong
3163 2873
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
2451 4369
Tuen Mun
New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association
2450 2172/ 2450 2172
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council
2465 3210


If you find yourself or people around you experiencing mental distress or emotional disturbance, including work effectiveness, interpersonal relationship, physical health, self-care ability, please seek professional assessment and services as soon as possible to prevent worsening of conditions.
Please take a look on the following information.
Social Welfare Department – Departmental hotline service

Service Hour:
Tel. No.:
Introduction of Related Services
24 hour Hospital Authority Psychiatric Hotline
Service Hour:
Tel. No.:
Introduction of Related Services
The Mental Health Association of Hong Kong - free mental health counseling and information hotline
Service Hour:
Tel. No.:
Introduction of Related Services
The Samaritan Befrienders oh Hong Kong – 24-hour hotline
Service Hour:
Tel. No.:
Introduction of Related Services
*Information mentioned above is for reference only. This project has no conflict of interest with the above-mentioned organizations and qualities of the above services are not guaranteed. For more details, please contact the above organizations directly.