Sharing of Experience

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Service Users' Sharing of Experience (Wan Tsui House)

Wan Tsui House is a half-way house assisting people recovering from mental illness to re-integrate into the community. To me, it’s not only a turning point, but also a place for self-development.

I have built up my living skills and self-image through joining various groups organized by the house. For example, preparation group for discharge assisted me to get ready for my new living. Another therapeutic group helped me gain a better understanding about myself.

Numerous activities have been organized in the house, such as “Wan Tsui Award Scheme”, which has strengthened our self-care ability through competition between different rooms and received token as reward in return. The Scheme also encouraged us to do more exercise. For the past two years, I have met different residents in the house. We did things together, for example, enjoying meals, watching TV, joining activities together. I have learnt more about myself, and most important of all, I have developed valuable friendship. 

In conclusion, I am happy to acquire knowledge and skills for independent living. What I treasure most is the friendship embedded in knowing other residents in the house. I sincerely hope that my personal experience could bless others and make their journey less difficult. 

Chan Wai Kuen

Service Users' Sharing of Experience (ALOHA-Eastern)

I have participated in the “Smart Ambassador Project” this year. We were offered an opportunity to visit a secondary school to share our experience with the students, so as to promote mental health awareness through playing games with them. I have designed a game on real-life room escape, and the students enjoyed quite a lot. Indeed, if someone is mentally-ill, it is just like being trapped in a room. He needs to search for clues and help, like seeking resources in the community, to let himself out and resolve the riddles within, so as to break through the puzzling situation.

So let me invite you, come to Richmond Fellowship and upgrade our problem solving ability, find the golden key and leave the invisible mental situation TOGETHER!

Chun

Family Caregiver's Sharing of Experience

Like other caregivers, I feel easier to seek support and learn caregiving knowledge after passing through the stages of grief and denial. Those years were serious challenges to me! To overcome such adversity, I believe that caregivers’ attitude did have crucial impact. Don’t you realize that caregivers are usually short of emotional support rather than materialistic ones?  

There is so much uncertainty in the recovery journey. Caregivers shall learn essential caregiving knowledge and skills, but we also need to endure discrimination from the community. Our efforts spent on learning, caregiving, seeking help, and instilling hope are all essential, but the recovery journey counts more than just these elements. Caregivers shall not forget to maintain good health (both physical and mental) and good relationship with the one(s) being cared. More importantly, caregivers may find their everyday life more fulfilling if their personal aspiration/growth can be realized in the recovery journey.

Even though caregivers are facing the above mentioned challenges, the principles of altruism and self-reliance can still be incarnated in our daily life. For instance, I joined the caregiver mutual aid group “Heart to Heart Club” (and was nominated as its Committee member), participated in the Fellowship’s Art Exhibition, led painting classes for service users, and wrote reflection articles for RFI. Other than activities held by the Fellowship, I also organized two art exhibitions with my friends. I have recently started helping a self-help group in Tin Shui Wai as well. 

Sharing the sense of commitment, I believe we can find our lives fruitful and meaningful through participating in caregiver programmes and community activities.

 

Mr. CHAN Shiu-keung 
Member of Heart to Heart Club Committee

Corporate Partnership

Expand Resources    Promote Friendship
 

In the past two years, the Fellowship has cooperated with 16 companies to establish good partnership, through different kinds of resources to further expand mental health services. Collaborations involve far more than just sponsorship and fundraising. They include professional advice, cash and in-kind donation, offering posts for open employment, venue support, complimentary nutrition consultation, and visiting activity.

Apart from financial and professional assistance, these companies’ selfless support and genuine devotion is also important in contributing to the success of such a joint partnership in providing community mental health service. Under the new knowledge and deeper understanding in needs of service user, staff members from caring companies are willing to participate in volunteer service and try to understand and accept service users as friends. Their enthusiasm has made me feel very touching. 

I remember that a donor has informed me, “My team and I are delighted to participate in all volunteer work as we all agree that we can learn something new through the volunteering experience. We are glad to be able to contribute to the society. And I am so glad to have worked with the service user as she has performed really well. She is responsible and reliable. I am very glad to hire her to be a member of our team.”

Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all participating companies, including 3M Hong Kong Ltd., Enagic HK Co Ltd., Televoice Technology Projection Ltd., Casablanca Hong Kong Ltd., Wing Hang Bank Limited, Memorial Park Hong Kong Limited, Glare Professional Car Care Center, Intimex Business Solutions Co., Ltd, Health Concept Hong Kong Limited, Realty Solution Consultants Limited, KGI Asia Limited, Glory Clinical Services LTD., Pioneer Management Ltd., Kangen Water (HK) Limited, BODYCARE Company Limited, Croton Consultant Limited.

Irene Ip
Senior Marketing Officer

 

Justone Mental Health Support Service - Volunteers' Sharing of Experience (by Eliza)

The past half year's voluntary work in "JUSTONE" has given me an opportunity to realize the world of people in recovery, which has eventually awakened me up from the commercial sector. Emotional distress is just around the corner and anyone might suffer regardless of age, sex, education level, or industry one is working in. Some service users I have helped were in fact professional and well-educated people. This made me realize that emotional distress is not restricted to particular batch or group of people.

Despite the limited time in communicating with service users over the phone, I have perceived various difficulties they are face in daily life. These difficulties include emotional disturbance, misunderstanding from their family and the community, lack of social activities, low motivation, doubt of their own value to live, etc. It is valuable to know that service users’ stress in both spiritual and emotional sense could be slightly relieved from the short telephone conversation, and meantime they felt care and support from the community. Recalling an episode with a female service user, she felt depressed and frustrated in preparing birthday gift for her husband. At the beginning of the conversation, she has repeatedly blamed herself and even denied her self-value. Upon attentive listening and encouragement, she has become lighthearted, and eventually decided to make chocolate by herself as a birthday gift for her husband. The counselling process has enlightened her and she even asked for the recipe for making chocolate.

Indeed, these short conversations not only can help people in recovery, but also enrich the wealth of my soul, and make me treasure what I have already possessed: health, family, friends, etc.

Eliza

Justone Mental Health Support Service - Volunteers' Sharing of Experience (by Louis)

The name of "Justone" has special meaning for me. I reminds me to pay attention to the "tone" of service users and that of myself on the phone. "Just the tone" can reveal much emotion. Sometimes, when I pick up the phone, I cannot hear the content. The user speaks in a husky, low, trembling voice with fragments of words. ‘I hear your pain… so painful…so helpless…’, replying in a low voice. Negative emotions are true, but given service user’s fear of being negated, rejected,  they cannot be freely expressed in daily life. After addressing the negative emotions, the user and I can communicate at ease.

As a volunteer, I just do a little something for the underprivileged and the emotionally distressed. I can do nothing without support from caring social workers, staff members, and other volunteers. The Chinese proverb "Happiness stems from helping others’may not be an accurate description of the work of JUSTONE. How can one feel happy when listening to others' unhappy experiences?But the sense of meaningfulness I obtained from volunteer work and the comfort I experienced with the users has already outweighted my negative feelings.

Despite being disturbed by negative emotions, many service users are nice people. A user thanks God because her siblings visited her at hospital. She sympathizes with those who stay at hospital without family support. Another user could not make decisions on small chores despite being a grown-up. It is definitely not her fault. Given emotional distress, she could not receive proper education and working experiences, leading to limited personal growth and development, Thus, she maintains the simplicity and goodness of a small girl.

Sometimes, even under medication, emotional distress is just like a dark shadow following a person for the whole life. While we cannot help people get rid of distress, can we help them adapt to and co-exist with negative emotions? Perhaps, JUSTONE is a dim but valuable beam that lightens up service users' rugged life road in darkness...

 

Louis