The Psychological Services Group (PSG) and New Territories South (NTS) Region invited a former Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, Tang How-kong, to share his personal struggle with depression at a seminar on September 14. The seminar, titled "Decoding Mental Health", aimed at raising NTS officers' awareness and acceptance of mental health issues.
Mr Tang recalled that after retirement for 18 months, he had trouble falling asleep due to self-defeating and catastrophising thoughts. He had even thought of committing suicide, and was later diagnosed with depression by a psychiatrist. He was shocked by the diagnosis and wondered why a cheerful person like him would suffer from depression.
After several months of medication, Mr Tang's mood improved gradually. He realised that his quest for perfectionism had turned into a burden to him. He learned to be humble and accept his limitations. Mr Tang believed that his experience with depression was a blessing in disguise. It enabled him to better understand himself and let go of negative emotions.
Mr Tang used the metaphor of a caterpillar to encourage the audience to face their mental health challenges courageously, just as a caterpillar breaks out of a cocoon and transforms into a butterfly. Mr Tang said depression is pretty common and stigmas do exit. He hoped his story could raise Force members' awareness of mental health, and they would show mutual understanding towards each other.