Mental Health Initiative: S.H.I.E.L.D.S.
Background and Objectives:
With the support of The Hong Kong Government Food & Health Bureau Mental Health Initiatives Funding Scheme, S.H.I.E.L.D.S. is leadership training program that aims to strengthen peer support for students in distress or crisis through empowering selected students to become proactive gatekeepers and lay leaders in mental health promotion and suicide prevention in the school community. Our research shows that young people are highly motivated to support their peers who are in distress or crisis. They are particularly empathetic to peers who are suffering from similar issues that they themselves have gone through and thus want to reach out to those in need. Further, the practical experience of promoting mental health in school can increase students’ sense of competence and motivation to develop as peer supporters. Therefore, we believe that students are in a better position to understand each other’s needs and become gatekeepers in suicide prevention and mental health promotion.
Major Project Activities:
To train students as gatekeeper, S.H.I.E.L.D.S. will provide inter-school training workshops and day camp for students in 2022 and 2023, covering student mental health issues, recognising signs of distress, self-care, the do’s and don’ts about peer supporting, crisis assessment and referral protocols. In addition, we also deliver training workshops to school staff on student’s mental health needs and facilitation of student mental health leadership in school.