The physical and mental health of Hong Kong people has been a growing concern in recent months. It is particularly significant amongst employees when different life and work challenges impose notable impact on their work performance and overall well-being. Employee Development Service of Hong Kong Christian Service and Four Dimensions Consulting Limited launched the ‘Employee Assistance Programme’ (EAP) to provide physical and mental health services to employees. From 2011 to 2022, they conducted the 'Hong Kong Employees Physical and Mental Health Survey', interviewing 627 service users to gain an in-depth understanding of employees' overall well-being in their workplace. The survey found that 38.8% of respondents experienced 'very high work stress' and 19.5% had 'considered suicide or self-harm'.
The survey used the ‘Workplace Outcome Suite’ to compare the well-being of employees in Hong Kong with those internationally. Before joining EAP, 77.8% of employees reported being ‘distracted at work’, which was about 20% higher than the international average. 49.0% felt 'unable to commit to work' and 48.4% were 'dissatisfied with life', both about 20% and 10% higher than the international average respectively. 34.8% said they were ‘afraid to go to work’, which is about 10% higher than the international average. In addition, 34.8% of employees 'took leave due to personal concern', with an average of 6.1 sick days in the past month.
The survey found that the Professional Personal Counselling and Consultation service provided by EAP was effective in improving employees' physical and mental health, work performance and workplace relationships. Before joining EAP, 53.8% of individuals rated their physical and mental well-being as 'poor' or 'very poor'. After receiving the EAP counselling service, almost 60% of them reported their wellbeing as 'good' or 'very good'. Of those who initially experienced 'very high work stress', 70.2% reported 'moderate' or 'low' stress after using EAP service. In addition, 93.1% of employees who had ‘considered suicide or self-harm’ before stated that they no longer had such thoughts after joining EAP. There were also significant improvements in being ‘distracted at work', 'unable to commit to work', 'dissatisfied with life', 'afraid to go to work' and 'taking leave due to personal concern'.
Mr CHAN (pseudonym), a 50-year-old worker in the finance field, was strained in high stress and emotional breakdown due to excessive workload. He was overburdened with long working hours and overloaded with hundreds of emails every day. He was also asked to carry the workload of other colleagues which saddened him with crying spells, insomnia, poor appetite and even contemplation of suicide. In 2022, Mr CHAN heard about the EAP provided by Four Dimensions through his company and eventually sought help. The professional counsellor provided immediate Mental Health First Aid by assessing his suicidal risk, stabilising his emotions, offering care and reassurance, as well as creating a supportive net that ultimately relieved him from his suicidality.
After about 6 months of professional counselling, Mr CHAN expressed his gratitude for the support provided by Four Dimensions and said that he had made major progress in recognising and managing his negative emotions. He gradually became aware of his psychological needs, abilities and resources, and no longer spiralled into negative emotional state.
Based on the survey results, Four Dimensions makes the following recommendations:
1. Government subsidising SMEs to implement EAP
2. Employers training staff as ‘Mental Health First Aiders’ in the workplace
3. Employees equipping knowledge and ways to improve physical and mental well-being
|Movement：do more exercises||Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis|
|Nutrition：develop a proper diet||Listen non-judgmentally|
|Community：maintain social life||Give support and information|
|Purpose：set goals||Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help|
|Relaxation：take rest||Encourage other supports|
About Four Dimensions Consulting Limited:
Hong Kong Christian Service (HKCS) is the first provider of EAP in Hong Kong with the establishment of Employee Development Service since 1991. With a continuous expansion of services, HKCS established a subsidiary company, Four Dimensions Consulting Limited, in 2005 to offer total solutions to assist employees with work and life issues, develop strengths and potentials, increase work engagement and positivity at work, which ultimately enhance organisational excellence and sustainability. For details, please visit: https://www.fourdimensions.org。
Ms Natalie CHEUNG, General Manager, Four Dimensions Consulting Limited (Tel: 2731 6238 )
Mr Don CHENG, Corporate Communication Executive (Information) (Tel: 2731 6263)