"Medical-Welfare-Business" Collaboration Helps Low-income Groups Receive Early Psychiatric Treatment
Co-funded by Chow Tai Fook Medical Foundation, Fu Tak Iam Foundation and Shih Wing Ching Foundation, New Life launched the Psychiatric Medical Subsidy and Community Support Project in response to service gap due to the long waiting period of psychiatric services in public hospitals. The project offers new patients who are on the waiting list for psychiatric specialist outpatient services in public hospitals with treatment provided by private psychiatrists to avoid delayed intervention.
A Beneficiary’s Sharing
Back in 2020, Ms. Tse suspected she could be suffering from anxiety disorders, as she became so reluctant to go out due to the fear against the COVID-19 pandemic as well as her own health problems. Her case was then referred to the psychiatric specialist outpatient services in public hospitals. However because of the great demand of the services, Ms. Tse had no choice but to wait before she could receive any treatment. Her situation aggravated as she couldn’t afford to go to private psychiatrists for early treatment.
Fortunately Ms. Tse was able to join the scheme with the help from New Life. As of May 2022, she was subsidized by the project for eight treatments provided by private psychiatrists, including the consultation fees and drug expenses.
"I was at a total loss, I couldn’t afford the private treatment. Luckily New Life helped me join the project so that I could receive the right treatment from private psychiatrists.”---- Ms. Tse, a beneficiary of the project
Significant Improvement After Treatments
Ms. Tse became much better after several treatments. With the encouragement from the project officer, she also started to do exercise and gradually resumed social activities, including some interest classes for self-enhancement on physical and mental well-being.
Demand for Mental Health Services Doubled under the Fifth Wave of Pandemic
Ms. Pang, the project leader said there have been increasing mental health needs among adults as they face extra stress both at the workplace and home amid the latest wave of pandemic. In light of the rising demand for the mental health services, the two-year Psychiatric Medical Subsidy and Community Support Project (Phase Three) launched in January 2021 has been adjusted recently to merely subsidize the applicants aged 18 or above with financial difficulties.
Ms. Pang's tip: We should be aware of our mental health condition if we have any of the below symptoms for two weeks or longer:
Having sleep problems
Being easily fatigued
Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
Having difficulty concentrating
Lack of confidence or hope
Sponsorship for People in Need on Receiving Treatment from Private Psychiatrists and Follow-up Services
Successful applicants will be sponsored to cover most of the expenses to visit designated private psychiatrists, including treatment cost and medication fee, paying only HKD $150 per visit. (For persons whose household monthly income are lower than half of Median Monthly Household Income announced by Census and Statistics Department, or are currently receiving CSSA, the fee could be exempted.) Due to the difference in waiting time on public psychiatric service, duration of sponsorship will be adjusted according to each case.
If the beneficiaries or their family need additional support such as individual/group counselling service, they will be referred to related service units under New Life to have essential support , including:
Support Services by Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (ICCMW)
Community Support Service
Clinical Psychological Service
Service for People with Autism
Mindfulness Course under newlife.330
Qualification for Application
Applicants must accord with all the following requirements: Hong Kong Citizen (of any age)
Having Economic difficulty
New Diagnosed Patient waiting for Public Psychiatric Services
For more details on the Psychiatric Medical Subsidy and Community Support Project, please visit: http://pms.nlpra.org.hk/