Smartphone-based Culturally Adapted Lifestyle Medicine for Improving Mental Health
Prof. Fiona Ho
The issue 議題
Mental health plays an integral part of our wellbeing, though perhaps only a handful of us are aware of the relationship between our lifestyle and mental health. Even fewer are willing to seek help, not to mention thinking ahead to prevent our mental health from deteriorating. As many as 13.3% of Hong Kong adults suffer from common mental disorders, yet for those expressing interest in attending treatment sessions, many fail to show up due to time, geographical and financial constraints. There is a need for accessible help that people can get themselves before things get too difficult.
精神或情緒困擾帶來的後果可大可小。世衛2017年估計，全球逾3億人有程度不一的憂鬱問題，每年有80萬人因此輕生。香港則約有13.3%成年人患有一般精神障礙（Common Mental Disorders， CMD）。
世衛估計至2030年，重度憂鬱症（Major depressive disorder， MDD）將會成為全球醫療系統最大負擔。然而，礙於社會污名或費用考慮，這類人士往往諱疾忌醫，令情緒問題惡化，甚至影響與身邊親友的關係。
The solution 解決方案
Lifestyle medicine enhances health via lifestyle changes, which have been proven to associate with risks in mental health issues. The team is developing a multi-domain lifestyle medicine drawing on evidence-based recommendations for public self-help. This non-invasive approach is often preferred over psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy because it’s free from perceived stigma, low-cost and has fewer side effects. Relevant topics and content of a validated programme developed by the University of Melbourne will be adapted, and enhanced with a culturally specific element — Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), trusted by most Chinese in general as a more holistic approach to overcome illnesses. The programme is disseminated via a smartphone application for its accessibility, scalability, as well as potential to overcome psychological barriers when compared to face-to-face treatment.
Elements in the programme include lifestyle psycho-education, exercise, diet and nutrition, mindfulness, motivation and goal setting techniques. All information is cross-validated by professionals.
37000 individuals interested in improving mental health or suffering from mental health problems
Social Impact 社會效益
The programme offers basic knowledge of mental health and understanding of how lifestyle factors contribute to mental health. Public members engaging in the app may improve both their mental and physical health at their own pace, while saving expenses necessary in conventional face-to-face treatments. The team will regularly update the app content based on latest research evidence. They also wish to invite relevant NGOs to apply the lifestyle medicine programme for more people in need.
Project Team 計畫團隊
PROF FIONA HO
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
Knowledge Transfer Fund 2018/19