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Five PolyU projects supported by phase 2 of Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme to enhance psychosocial well-being of different community groups

PolyU has received support for five projects under Phase 2 of the Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme. From left: Prof. Sylvia Chen and Dr Angel Lai of the Department of Applied Social Sciences; Prof. Hector Tsang of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences; Prof. Angela Leung and Dr Harry Qin of the School of Nursing.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has received support for five projects under Phase 2 of the Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme (the Funding Scheme) coordinated by the Advisory Committee on Mental Health, developing innovative social services programmes to benefit the mental well-being of people in the community.

The five awarded projects devise sustainable solutions to address the mental health issues of different people, with the application of new technology such as virtual reality and electronic platforms, covering the needs of various stakeholders including caregivers, secondary school students, adolescents with special educational needs (SEN), carers of AD/HD children, and persons with disabilities.

The Funding Scheme is being implemented in two phases (i.e. Phase 1 and Phase 2). Phase 1 was launched in 2021. The purpose of the Funding Scheme is to fund projects that could help provide better support to those in need in the community and to raise public awareness on mental health. PolyU researchers are devoted to creating solutions for the betterment of society with the integration of academic, scientific and pragmatic expertise. The five awarded projects are being conducted by the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, with a project duration of 15 to 24 months.

Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, said, “PolyU has been working closely with the community to provide impactful and innovative solutions to societal challenges. The funding support received from the Funding Scheme demonstrates the strengths of PolyU’s scholars in transforming research and innovation into social applications for the benefit of society. The awarded projects deliver mental health, social and community support programmes for different communities.”

Prof. David SHUM, Dean of the Faulty of Health and Social Sciences, said, “Mental health is an imperative issue that we cannot ignore. Under the impact of the pandemic in recent years, different groups in the community are faced with urgent needs for mental health support. The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences has been committed to mental health research over the years. The funding support combined with our strengths in scientific research and practice will bring impactful solutions for the benefit of various community groups.”


PolyU-led projects awarded under Phase 2 of the Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme

Project Title

Project Summary

Principal Investigator

Reducing Social Avoidance and Enhancing Prosocial Behaviour among Adolescents with Special Educational Needs

The project aims to foster prosocial behaviour of adolescents with SEN in transition with the use of virtual reality technology. It will implement social anxiety intervention based on a cognitive-behavioural approach with a virtual coach acting as the therapist and develop a gamified prosocial VR intervention for adolescents with SEN. This VR-assisted social avoidance and prosocial behaviour intervention would benefit individuals and society by cultivating psychological and socially healthy young people.

Prof. Sylvia CHEN
Professor of Department of Applied Social Sciences, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Healing Together – Building Positive School Mental Health in Post-COVID Hong Kong

The project aims to promote mental health and its awareness for stakeholders of secondary schools including students, teachers, administrative staff and management. Healing spaces will be constructed in the partnering schools. The programme will adopt a train-the-trainer approach to train students to become mental health ambassadors for programme sustainability and student empowerment. Baptist Oi Kwan Social Services is the collaborative partner of this project.

Dr Angel LAI
Assistant Professor of Department of Applied Social Sciences

Enhancing the Mental Health of Carers of Persons with Disabilities with Support Services Delivered by Trained Carer Support Ambassadors

The project aims to support carers of persons with disabilities. It will implement a short-term certificate programme for frontline workers such as occupational therapy assistants, rehabilitation assistants, patient care assistants and welfare workers to become Carer Support Ambassadors who will deliver mental health support to carers. This innovative approach is designed to address the shortage of manpower in mental health services and the growing support needs for carers.

Prof. Hector TSANG
Professor and Head of Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Increasing Mental Health Literacy and Peer Support among Caregivers: An Electronic Painting and Peer Supportive (EPPS) Platform

The project will develop an Electronic Painting and Peer Supportive (EPPS) Platform to provide mental health support for caregivers. It aims to enhance mental health literacy and peer support among caregivers. This electronic interactive platform motivates caregivers to share their paintings with others and seek help from families and professionals when they are stressful.

Prof. Angela LEUNG
Professor and Associate Head (Research) of School of Nursing

Peer Support Virtual Reality-based Intervention for AD/HD Carers - Stress Relieving and Empathy Improving Programme

A novel peer support virtual reality-based therapy will be developed for AD/HD carers to reduce their stress and improve empathy in getting along with their AD/HD children. The project aims to provide stress management for the carers to sustain healthy living conditions and relationships with AD/HD children.

Dr Harry QIN
Associate Professor of School of Nursing



Press Contacts

Ms Iris Lai

Manger, Research and Innovation Office

Press Contacts

Ms Annie Wong

Manager, Communications and Public Affairs

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