HKUST PPOL Newsletter Fall 2023

38 Community Impact Introduction Empowering Ethnic Minorities: A Spotlight on Community Mental Health Projects Public policy benefits immensely from community projects backed by real-world data, especially those focused on mental health. Using this data-driven method, we can gain insights into the specific mental health issues ethnic minority communities face. This knowledge helps us craft customized strategies and solutions, resulting in more impactful policies. Our faculty member, Professor Naubahar Sharif's ongoing projects underscore the value of this approach, emphasizing the need to base public policy on solid, empirical research. While Hong Kong's ethnic minority population is still small, it's growing quickly, particularly among the young. The percentage has risen from 2.79% in 2011 to 4.07% in 2021. Meanwhile, the proportion of ethnic minority youth increased from 9.90% to 11.40% during the same period. Even with a declining overall youth population, the number of ethnic minority youth continues to rise. Their mental health needs are as urgent as the majority's. Sadly, current mental health services often overlook these diverse communities' unique cultural and linguistic needs. Our project aims to bridge this gap, offering culturally sensitive mental health services to everyone in Hong Kong. Our team is committed to tackling mental health issues in Hong Kong, with a focus on encouraging help-seeking, reducing stigma and discrimination across all groups, including ethnic minorities. We strive for inclusivity, fostering open conversations among all ethnicities. As mental health gains priority in Hong Kong, we ensure our ethnic minorities receive equal focus alongside the Chinese majority. In essence, our work centers on inclusivity and equal effort for all. Professor Naubahar Sharif Miss Cassy Ying Tung Chan