Perspectives of community processes in establishing community-based mental health services in Hong Kong: a case study

Vincent W.P. Lee*, Daniel W.L. Lai, Xiaoting Ou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Integrated Community Centres for Mental Wellness (ICCMWs) provide district-based community support services for patients discharged from mental health facilities and other residents in Hong Kong. However, selecting locations for these community centres is challenging primarily because of community opposition, which has introduced barriers to responses to service users’ interests and the operations of individual centres. This study examines public preferences for conflict resolution options, evaluates the feasibility of different consultation approaches, identifies effective methods for reducing public opposition and recommends possible approaches to public consultation and location selection.

Methods: A total of 74 individual interviews were conducted with key informants, including government personnel, service operators, politicians, resident representatives, community activists and service users. These interviewees were asked about their knowledge, experiences and perspectives of centre location selection processes.

Results: Interviews revealed that neighbourhood consultations for establishing community centres for mental wellness are time-consuming and did not yield a consensus of support from residents. In some instances, the government may decide to delay or withdraw location selection plans because of strong public opposition mainly because of bias and misunderstanding towards service users. However, the role of local politicians in mediating neighbourhood opinions and the government’s determination in planning location selection are essential for successfully selecting ICCMW locations.

Conclusion: Government departments should develop stronger collaboration to study target neighbourhoods and lobby stakeholders at earlier stages. Such investigations should involve identifying key stakeholders, the political and social dynamics of controversies and community demographics. A protocol specifying a time frame should be implemented to facilitate smooth and effective public consultation and community mental health service location selection processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Systems
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

User-Defined Keywords

  • Community education
  • Hong Kong
  • Mental health community service
  • Mental health stigma
  • NIMBY
  • Public consultation

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