Connecting the disconnected amidst of the COVID-19
Prepared by : Paul Yip
Paul Yip is the director of Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Research and Prevention, and a chair professor at the Social Work and Social Administration, the University of Hong Kong
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly across the world, countries worldwide have imposed entry restrictions and travel bans to curb the spread of the infectious disease. Hong Kong has been at the forefront in combating the epidemic and has been trying hard to contain the spread due to its proximity to Mainland from the first wave and the second wave arising from the returnees from overseas. The measures include school, bar and gym closure, work at home arrangement, limited the size of gathering to no more than four in public place. In addition, the Government has imposed quarantine requirements for people who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 due to overseas travel or who have come into contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
In the midst of the physical and social isolation, they are severely disconnected from the usual network of instrumental and emotional support, resulting in significant deterioration of mental wellness. Here we like to share a project to helping the schoolchildren and parents amidst of the epidemic, most of the schools attempt to continue teaching through an online platform. The students are overwhelmed and exhausted with the e-learning homework and while their mental well-being during the long and unexpected school suspension has been neglected. At the same time, the adverse economic situation and unstable social environment also arouse the parents’ negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger, hopelessness etc., which will adversely affect the parents’ mental health and their parent-child relationship. Therefore, information and knowledge of parental skills are crucial for the families’ resilience to deal with the unsettling feeling and distress in this difficult time.
This project aims to create an online platform to share correct and useful information with the community, we provide daily updated information about parenting and mental wellness, sharing of messages from positive role models, live broadcasts of multimodal activities designed to address multiple areas of mental wellness in the bio-psycho-social model, and Q&A sessions with medical doctors and helping professionals. An online mailbox is created on our platform for anyone wanting to ask any question by leaving a message and our team of experts shall give them a reply within 24 hours to ease their worries and anxiety. The uniqueness of the project is (i) Non-academic related contents to address the parents and students’ needs. (ii) Leverage on the impact of social media to deliver a positive message and accurate information. One of the partners of this project, Mameshare, is a well-established parenting online platform of parenting. We are capable of make use of their database to reaching out to the families in need. (iii) Enhance the sense of connection through social media engagement. This project provides information on daily based which can keep the public engaged with the most updated materials. The “Online Mailbox” cannot only answer the questions which parents and students are concerned but also create a sense of connection and being supported through the timely response.
Paul Yip is the director of the Centre for Research, Prevention, and a chair professor at the Social Work and Social Administration, the University of Hong Kong.
Acknowledgement: The project is supported by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust
COVID-19 Emergency Fund