According to a study, about 10% of the elderly population in Hong Kong have depressive symptoms. Factors such as stress, health problems and a lack of social engagement usually contribute to the vulnerability of older people and cause higher risks of elderly depression or other major illness. In response to this concern, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust approved funding of over HK$87 million to initiate the three-year “JC JoyAge: Jockey Club Holistic Support Project for Elderly Mental Wellness” (JC JoyAge).
Through cross-sectoral collaboration, JC JoyAge will pilot a community-based supporting network for our senior citizens to enhance their resiliency in facing the challenges of ageing. The project will be implemented in four districts – Kwai Chung, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po and Tseung Kwan O – with three main components: (1) capacity building programmes for service providers to enhance their knowledge and competence in helping those in needs; (2) to establish a new collaborative service model to bridge the medical and social sectors with a view to reducing the risk of elderly depression, or relieving the depressive symptoms of the elderly through outreach engagements, prevention, and early intervention programmes; and (3) a “Peer Supporters” initiative in which trained seniors will be able to identify and support other vulnerable elderly who need help in the community, and at the same time enhance neighbourhood cohesiveness. In addition, public education activities will be organised to improve the mental health literacy and enhance social support in the community.
Project partners include The University of Hong Kong, Caritas-Hong Kong, Christian Family Service Centre, Haven of Hope Christian Services, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Lady MacLehose Centre, the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong, and the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.