Today's World Mental Health Day (10 October, 2018), a cause which is close to many of us here at #legend. During the process of making this video, we came full circle to the reason why we set out to do this in the first place. Something as simple as just having, or even starting, a conversation around mental health is so important as there are many of us who are still not comfortable enough to share our thoughts with each other, worried about what others might say or how it might affect people's perceptions about us.
Mental health isn't something you're diagnosed with, it's something everyone struggles with and deals with on a daily basis— just like how we keep our bodies healthy by eating better, working out or chugging Lemsip when you've got a flu. Perhaps you've just had a bad day or you haven't been able to get a good night's rest, that's your mind and body kicking in to tell you to embrace and just accept how you've been thinking, feeling or acting. It's taking care of not just your physical but your emotional, psychological and social wellbeing as well.
We were lucky enough to speak to two inspiring Hong Kongers, Ada Cheung and Megan Lam, on what it's like to live with mental health in Hong Kong and what they've been doing to create a safe and open environment for the community where these topics aren't stigmatised but received openly, in all their vulnerability, with positive support.
Having studied psychology and family studies, and having completed a Masters Degree in Social Work this past year at HKU, Ada Cheung's greatest passion has always been to support and empower every individual to experience the freedom and courage to be their most truest, unapologetic self by providing a safe and compassionate space for honesty and vulnerability. Ada is a fitness addict, and is a spinning instructor at Hong Kong's top indoor cycling studio, XYZ. Ada believes a well-balanced approach towards fitness is the best recipe for your body and mind to be aligned, in which she also practices yoga and strength training.
She is also the Program Director of a local organization called One Ten, committed to increasing the holistic well-being of the young adults of Hong Kong through providing non-competitive sports classes lead by caring and compassionate instructors (HIIT training, yoga, bouldering and climbing and spinning to name a few exercise styles on the menu).
"I don't want people to simply be "happy" - I want them to feel and experience deep joy, meaning and fulfilment in every action that they mindfully put their intention and action to - from cultivating healthy friendships and relationships, to career exploration and advancement, to holistic wellbeing in mental, physical and spiritual health," says Ada.
Megan Lam is the CEO and Co-founder of Neurum Health – a company that provides behavioural health insights using real-world and real-time data. Drawing on her own personal experiences, Megan sees every moment as an opportunity to better educate and improve mental health literacy. To date, she serves on the executive board of Global Innovations and New Technologies (GIANT) Health Events and advisory for Mind HK's digital health projects. Previously, she completed a research fellowship and co-founded the Psychiatry Technology Group at Yale School of Medicine.
It's time to do away with the social stigma associated with mental health. What you can do? Speak up and don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Never underestimate the power of compassion. A simple gesture to show that one is appreciated, or understood, can instantly empower anyone to become the greatest version of themselves.