In this spotlight profile, we are speaking to Dr. Dennis Cheung, a specialist in psychiatry and medical director at HealthyMind Centre, based in Hong Kong. Dr. Cheung is also the founding director of Healthykiddo, a charitable organization, aiming at helping kids with special needs. Apart from that, Dr. Cheung is also a clinical honorary assistant professor at Department of Psychiatry, HKU.
Dr. Cheung, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and training?
I was born and raised in a grassroots family. My parents had devoted their entire life to improve the living conditions of the family. Their hardwork provided a positive role model for myself and the family.. With plenty of effort, I managed to get admitted to the medical school of Hong Kong University in 2003, in the year of SARS. After graduation, I chose to continue with specialist training in psychiatry. When comparing to other specialties, I realized that psychiatrists spend much more time understanding the patient as a whole, rather than focusing on a specific pathogen or specific part of the body.
During my service in the public sector, I obtained broad exposure to various psychiatric services, including general adult, child and adolescent, substance abuse, psychogeriatric and psychiatric rehabilitation services. I am now a Fellow of The Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists and a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in the specialty of Psychiatry. I am also a specialist in psychiatry with The Medical Council of Hong Kong.
I started private practice in 2017 with the clinic name “HealthyMind Centre”, hoping to help more people achieve a “healthier mind”. I believe psychiatric treatment is not only about medication, but should be more comprehensive. I thus invited some other professionals like clinical psychologists, family therapists, TMS specialists and counsellors to join me and I formed a team to help with those in need.
We are seeing a lot more individuals willing to speak about self-care and the need to take care of their mental health especially with all the challenges individuals face on a day-to-day basis. Can you tell us about some of the key struggles/issues you are witnessing with your clients in Hong Kong?
Absolutely. It’s great to see a growing awareness of the importance of mental health and self-care.
In Hong Kong, one of the biggest challenges I have seen among clients is the high stress levels that come with the fast-paced and competitive nature of the city. Many people struggle to find a balance between work, family and personal life, which can lead to burnout, sleep problems, anxiety and depression. Many clients are experiencing significant amounts of stress from different aspects, such as work, study, relationship or family issues and they do not have enough capacity or resources to handle it. It is important for individuals to prioritize their mental health and seek out support whenever necessary.
What advice do you provide for those struggling through mental health issues?
In Hong Kong, according to the latest survey, 1 in 7 people in Hong Kong are having a mental health issue. Mental health problem are not uncommon. Dealing with mental health issues can be challenging, but it is important to remember that help is always available. Here are a few things to consider:
- Seek professional help: If you are struggling with mental health issues, it is essential to seek professional help. Delay in seeking support might make the condition even worse. Consider seeing a therapist, a counselor, or a family doctor if you are not sure how severe your condition is or who to approach.
- Self-care: Self-care can assist in managing many mental health issues. Ensure that you are getting enough rest, exercising regularly and making time for activities that you enjoy.
- Connect with others: Isolation can worsen the symptoms of many mental illnesses. Connect with close friends or family, join a support group or even try some volunteer works might help ease some of the sufferings or symptoms.
Are there are a lot of resources available for individuals who are struggling mentally and emotionally? Where can these individuals reach out for help?
There are many resources available for individuals who are struggling mentally and emotionally. One good place to start is by contacting a social worker or your family doctor. They can help guide you to the appropriate resources and support in your community. Additionally, many non-profit organizations and support groups exist to help individuals who are struggling with mental health issues. It’s important to remember that seeking help can be difficult, but it is a brave and important step towards better mental health.
Do you work with clients/patients who are struggling with divorce and the breakdown of the family unit?
I do work with clients who are struggling with divorce matters or breakdown of the family unit. They are mostly presented with different mood problems or sleeping issues. Sometimes, it is the children who are having adjustment issues. Divorce and the breakdown of the family unit can be incredibly challenging experiences, often resulting in significant emotional distress for those involved. It is important for individuals going through a divorce or experiencing family conflict to find appropriate support. It is also important to remember that, while these situations may be difficult, there are often ways to find positive outcomes and work towards healing and growth.
For those struggling with a divorce, what would you suggest they do to move forward and find hope in such a dark period of their lives?
Divorce can be an incredibly difficult and painful experience, but it is important to remember that you can rebuild and find hope, even in the midst of the darkness. Here are some suggestions for moving forward:
- Take time for self-care: Prioritize your own physical and emotional health by engaging in regular exercise, practicing mindfulness, and joining activities that you enjoy.
- Seek out support: Talk to your trusted friends or your family members regarding your difficulties, or seeking help from local support groups. It is important to have a support system to turn to during this challenging time.
- Allow yourself to grieve: Divorce often comes with a sense of loss, and it is important to allow yourself the time and space to grieve that loss.
- Stay positive and hopeful: Remember that this is a transitional period, and that you have the power to create a new future for yourself. Keep a positive outlook and focus on the possibilities ahead.
About Dr. Cheung Ching Ping, Dennis, Medical Director and Psychiatrist at HealthyMind
Dr. Dennis Cheung is a specialist in psychiatry and medical director at HealthyMind Centre, based in Hong Kong. Dr. Cheung is also the founding director of Healthykiddo, a charitable organization, aiming at helping kids with special needs. Apart from that, Dr. Cheung is also a clinical honorary assistant professor at Department of Psychiatry, HKU.
For more information regarding HealthyMind Centre, you can visit: https://www.healthymindhk.com/
For more information regarding Healthkiddo, you can visit: https://www.healthykidhk.org/