The string of protests against the extradition law amendment bill had put the Force through an unprecedented challenge. All along, experts from the Psychological Services Group (PSG) have been walking shoulder to shoulder with colleagues in the Force, to help them cope with their emotional struggles. Under the current structure of PSG, which was established in 1983, a total of nine Police Clinical Psychologists (PCPs) are led by two Senior PCPs to handle all requests for help. Not only do they have a deep understanding of issues related to stress, emotion and mental health, but they also know police culture inside out. Therefore, they have a good grasp of what their colleagues are going through, and are capable of providing apt and timely solutions to help them overcome personal adversities.
Ms Joan Chan, a PCP who joined PSG more than two decades ago, said the Group handles an average of around 200 new cases every year. However, the number of requests for help rose by approximately 20 percent last year. Besides, given that the families of police officers were also caught up in the emotional turmoil, the Group’s workload increased significantly.
She said, “Among the colleagues who sought our help, what troubled them the most included the fact that they were too occupied with their duties to make themselves available to protect their families, even when they knew their loved ones were under attack. Their children were discriminated against, boycotted and even intimidated at school, but it was very difficult to help them switch schools immediately. Such quandaries had given colleagues a weighty sense of helplessness. Just because the Court has granted an injunction order to ban people from doxxing police officers does not mean their emotional stress has been relieved.”
Ms Chan pointed out that the key to lifting colleagues out of such doom and gloom is letting them know that “someone is there to help them”. After making an appointment for the first time, police officers have to wait for merely five days on average for their turn to meet with the PSG experts. The theme of PSG’s promotional posters this year is to appeal to the management personnel of each tier in the Force to take the initiative to identify and reach out to colleagues in distress. She said, “As long as the Force’s management personnel is more empathetic, colleagues would feel cared for and be willing to open up, then seek professional help.”
Ms Chan mentioned a previous case, in which an Inspector with rather acute sensitivity to others’ emotions quickly noticed a downcast subordinate when he first took charge of the team. He then reached out to this colleague to learn more about his emotional struggles, and this officer was immediately referred to PSG for its service.
Ms Chan added that over 30 percent of the cases received by PSG are work-related, while 20 percent stem from family issues. She said, “I once handled a case, in which the colleague’s son was mildly mentally handicapped. The colleague was extremely troubled by his son’s learning difficulties, and this issue constantly sparked off quarrels between him and his wife. After our intervention and counselling, the colleague came to terms with his son’s learning disabilities, and thus he arranged for his son to study at a non-mainstream school. Since then, his relationship with his family improved vastly.”
September 10 is the “World Suicide Prevention Day”. PSG will continue to instil positivity into colleagues, to prevent them from descending into a vortex of negative emotions.
Members of OffBeat Editorial Committee:
|Mr Kenneth Kwok||CSP PPRB (Chairperson)|
|Mr Leung Chung-man||SSP MLC PPRB|
|Ms Jessica Wong||PIO PP PPRB|
|Mr Raymond Lee||CIP MR PPRB|
|Ms Ho Wing-shan||ATSRO HKI|
|Ms Elly Chow||ATSRO KE|
|Ms Rachel Lau||TSRO KW|
|Mr Marco Chan||ATSRO NTN|
|Ms Grace Mak||TSRO NTS|
|Ms Angela Lai||TSRO MAR|
|Ms Will Choi||SIP SR 1|
|Ms Jandy Shek||CIP A&S HKPC|
|Ms Ada Wong||SIP HQ (2) CRM|
|Mr Ma Tak-hung||JPOA REP|
|Mr Jeff Mok||EO G&D|
|Editor:||Ivy Leung: 2860-6171|
|Reporter:||Dickson Choi: 2860-6172|
|Photographers:||Hugo Lam: 2860-6174
Lam Yu-san: 2860-6175
|Address:||10/F, Arsenal House, Police Headquarters,
No.1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
|Deadline for Issue 1169:||September 17, 2020 (before 6pm)
|Deadline for Issue 1170:||September 29, 2020 (before 6pm)
Procedures for submission of articles can be viewed through the hexagon of OffBeat on Police Intranet (POINT).
Published by the Police Public Relations Branch, Hong Kong Police Force