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Press Corner

Charity Concert for Suicide Prevention Services
(13 July 2009)

The Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA) and the HKMA Charitable Foundation (Foundation) will hold a Charity Concert at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall on Saturday, 1 August 2009, all funds generated, WITHOUT deducting any cost, will be donated to the Suicide Prevention Services (SPS).

The Foundationˇ¦s Founding Chairman, Dr. CHOW Pak Chin expressed that the financial tsunami last year attacked most countries in the world, including Hong Kong. Many Hong Kong people were suffering from huge pressure as a result of unemployment, investment failures or losses, and difficulties with their family and work relationships. These people were on the verge of emotional breakdown, they need channels to relief their stress else they might commit suicide. The demand for befriending hotline services increased significantly over the past months. In view of this, the Foundation had decided to dedicate the funds generated for enhancing SPSˇ¦s services.

Dr. TSE Hung Hing, the HKMA President told this afternoon that the HKMA, and later with the joint effort of the Foundation, have been raising funds for community projects and people in need over the past 20 years through the public performances of its Choir and Orchestra. This year, noting the economic hardship, the HKMA would bear all production and administration cost of the charity concert, which was estimated to be over HK$100K. Every cent generated would be donated to support the suicide prevention service. He urged for the generous support of the general public, and together we brought comfort to the desperate people.

Dr. CHOW continued that the Hon. LEUNG Chun Ying and Prof. Gabriel LEUNG had agreed to come and officiate the Concert. The HKMA Choir and Orchestra would bring good music to the audience. It was glad to know that some donors had dedicated their concert tickets to the low income families, which might not have the chance before to sit in a grand concert hall and enjoy classical music. The Foundation expressed our greatest gratitude towards all generous donors.

Ms. Elsie CHIEN, Deputy Director of SPS briefed that ever since the financial tsunami, the number of incoming call to the SPS hotline has increased by 78% in April to June this year compared to the same period last year. Calls from male increased by 85% and that the calls related to financial and employment problems increased by 68%. Hotline volunteer Ms. CHAN expressed that in the past months, many callers felt frustrated because of financial problems and have suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, they changed their mind after talked to the hotline volunteers who showed concern and acceptance.

Ms. CHIEN also introduced their other services apart from the 24-hour hotline, including the Outreach Befriending Service for Suicidal Elderly and Project BLESS (Befriending service for Lighting up and Empowering Suicide Survivors). Ms. Szeto, a volunteer of the outreach service, shared that many of the elder and retired persons they reached have emotional distress. Under their care and regular visits, many have become more stable and positive. Ms. Szeto expressed that, thanks to the communication skills she learnt by joining the volunteer service, she as well enjoyed improved relationship with her elders at home.

Ms. LAW told that after her son committed suicide, the whole family was in a mess. It was the turning point when she sought help from Project BLESS. She was able to face the way forward after counseling. Later she was trained to be a volunteer, and helped other survivors overcome their difficult time by sharing with them her own experience. She reminded that suicide survivors were particularly vulnerable, especially when the society was filled with negative news. She urged the emotionally distressed persons to contact Project BLESS at 2382 2737 for assistance.

Notes to editors:
The Hong Kong Medical Association, founded in 1920, aims to bring together Hong Kong's government, institutional, university and private medical practitioners for an effective exchange of views and co-ordination of efforts. The foremost objective of the Association is to safeguard and promote public health. The Association speaks collectively for its members and aims to keep its members abreast of medical ethics, issues and advances around the world. In fulfilling these goals, the association hopes to better serve the people of Hong Kong.

Enquiries : Ms. Candy Yuen
Tel : 2527 8285
Home Page : http://www.hkma.org
E-mail : hkma@hkma.org


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