香港的各界名人、精英翘楚，亦应该借镜菲比斯的事迹和爱心，善用自己的名望、金钱，多关心、协助有特殊教育需要的青少年，让香港多一点爱，少一点悲剧。 （标题为编辑所加） （摘录自香港文汇报社评19-3-2018）
Government must commit more resources to assist families who are in dire need
【译文】A boy suspected of having a hyperactivity disorder was strangled to death, and his grandmother was later arrested for murder. According to sources, the grandmother wanted to "end the boy's suffering" and had attempted to commit suicide afterwards. This upsetting tragedy has once again brought to our attention the fact that, many carers are often mentally and physically exhausted, and thus very susceptible to looming family tragedies by making the wrong decision out of despair. In a highly developed and wealthy city like Hong Kong, there is no excuse for the government and everyone of us to not help those afflicted and their families. The government must commit more resources and make a concerted effort with local community groups to proactively identify and assist families who are in dire need, so as to avert similar tragic events in the future.
Parents whose children suffer from learning disability, hyperactivity or autism are bound to sacrifice more time and energy in raising them. Combine such exhaustion with the stressful environment in Hong Kong, alienation between neighbours and the pressure from traditional Chinese taboos, carers of the mentally ill have to sustain enormous economic and psychological burden. Many of them would succumb to the pressure, which in turn clouds their mind and leads to tragedies.
Statistics show that out of the 40,000-plus children and teenage Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients in Hong Kong, half of them spent more than a year waiting for diagnosis and treatment from public healthcare, 14 per cent of them even waited for two to three years. Meanwhile, services from private psychiatrists are unaffordable to many, as a single visit might cost over $1,000. The medical sector have strongly urged the government to intervene, as lack of support would aggravate the problems faced by the already strained families of the mentally ill. The society should lend a helping hand to the needy and avoid the repetition of such painful mishaps.
To ease the suffering and burden of the mentally ill and their families, the government should commit more resources to cut down the waiting time by hiring more paediatric psychiatrists, while welfare non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should take up a more active role. If welfare NGOs could arrange speech and behavioural therapies, professional counselling and stress management training, life could be much easier for both the patients and their families.
Caritas Hong Kong, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and Heep Hong Society are some of the NGOs that already offer these services. Having experienced this tragedy, local welfare groups should step up their efforts in raising public awareness, so that families in need could reach out for help and receive proper education. To avoid shifting the burden to NGOs, the government should also prepare to allocate more resources and provide help.
Mental illness is nothing to be afraid of, as many have overcome the adversity and achieved great success. Michael Phelps, history's most decorated Olympian and a swimmer nicknamed the "Flying Fish", was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and was told by one of his teachers that he "would never amount to anything and would never be successful". Instead of depending on medication, Phelps harnessed his symptoms and became a swimming legend by training up focus, emotion control and discipline with practices in the pool.
Like Phelps, Hong Kong's celebrities and elites should spread the love and help young people with special educational needs with their fame and fortune, and hopefully there will be less tragedies in our home.■Jeffrey Tse [email@example.com]
1. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
2. Specific Learning Disability
5. Speech Therapy