Dr. Stella Liu, Founder
The New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, originally called the New Life Mutual Aid Club, was formed by Dr. Stella Liu and a group of people in recovery (PIR) of mental illness in 1959.
Dr. Liu had committed herself to helping people with mental illness all life long. She joined the Mental Health Service of Department of Health as Assistant Medical Officer in 1952. In 1958, Dr. Liu started a practical form of group psycho-therapy for patients in the hospital. This group therapy had been very successful that the participants wished to continue it beyond hospital care. The idea of forming a "Mutual Aid Club” was born in response to patients’ demand. After several preliminary meetings, a preparatory general meeting took place at the Hong Kong Psychiatric Centre, gathering together 55 basic members and 5 observers from the hospital, and confirmed the name as New Life Mutual Aid Club. Committee members were elected amongst the basic members. In July 1965, the Committee decided to re-organize due to changes in executive committee members and the expansion of service development. More professional personnel were elected into the new Committee. The title was changed to the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. Dr. Raymond Wu was elected as the first Chairman.
Dr. Raymond Wu, the first Chairman of the Executive Committee
Dr. Raymond Wu chaired the Executive Committee of the Association from 1966 to 2006. As the Chairman consecutively for 40 years, Dr. Wu had been a staunch advocate of community psychiatric rehabilitation services in Hong Kong, bridging the gap between the health and welfare sectors.
Dr. Wu always supported pilot and new initiatives for service delivery. Under his leadership, the Association had piloted numerous new initiatives to bring persons in recovery back into the community and enable them to utilize their social capital in work and employment.
In the 1990s, mental health service in Mainland China tended to focus on medication rather than community integration. In view of such, Dr. Wu decided to share the good practice of community psychiatric rehabilitation services in Hong Kong with the counterparts in the Mainland. In 1998, the Association signed the exchange agreement with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), which was a milestone and prelude to a series of exchange programs and collaboration work with our mainland counterparts.
Dr. Wu passed away on 3 October, 2006 due to illness and the Association established the "Dr. Wu Wai Yung Fund” in 2006 for the specific purpose of supporting exchange programs with Mainland China to continue his endeavour on enhancing the quality of community mental health and psychiatric rehabilitation services.