Mental Health

Our Department has been undertaking various mental health research projects to implement the WHO recommendation of “Integration of Mental Health into Primary care” in Chinese and Asian context. These projects aim to enhance mental health and self-efficacy for primary care patients particularly in chronic disease management, healthy ageing, youth well-being and suicide prevention.

Our team has conducted studies with the Hospital Authority, non-profit organizations, private primary care clinics, community centers, secondary schools and tertiary institutions within Hong Kong for primary care mental health research. We have identified the keys factors to facilitate help-seeking and management of mental health and psychosocial problems, and ways to promote youth well-being. We have been working with the World Health Organization in revising the primary care classification of mental and behavioural disorders for the ICD-11-PHC. We also have active international collaborations with universities in the Asia Pacific Region including Australia, Singapore and Mainland China for projects relating to depression, anxiety disorders, dementia, domestic violence, child abuse and safe sexual health.

  • Professor Cindy Lo Kuen LAM
  • Professor Tai Pong LAM
  • Dr William Chi Wai WONG
  • Dr Esther Yee Tak YU
  • Dr Julie Yun CHEN
  • Dr Carlos King Ho WONG

Current research projects
  • Elicitation of health state utilities for paediatric populations from the general public. PI: Carlos K.H. Wong, 2019-2020, UGC-General Research Fund (GRF), HK$968,347.
  • Hong Kong Youths' Attitudes Towards Suicide, Coping Strategies and Online Help-seeking. PI: Tai Pong Lam, 2018-2020, Public Policy Research Grant, HK$880,918.

Key publications
  • Sun KS, Lam TP, Lam KF, Chan HY, Lo TL, Chao DVK, Yu YTT, Lam EWW. Associations between demographic factors and psychological distress among Chinese residents in Hong Kong: beyond socioeconomic classes. Psychology, Health & Medicine. 2020 Jan 15:1-13.
  • Zhang Z, Sun KS, Jatchavala C, Koh J, Chia Y, Bose J, Li Z, Tan W, Wang S, Chu W, Wang J, Tran B, Ho R. Overview of stigma against psychiatric illnesses and advancements of anti-stigma activities in six Asian societies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019 Dec 31;17(1).
  • Ziebold C, Goldberg DP, Reed GM, Minhas F, Razzaque B, Fortes S, Robles R, Lam TP, Bobes J, Iglesias C, Cogo-Moreira H, Gracia JÁ, Mari JJ. Dimensional analysis of depressive, anxious and somatic symptoms presented by primary care patients and their relationship with ICD-11 PHC proposed diagnoses. Psychological Medicine. 2019 Apr;49(5):764-771.
  • Ziebold C, Mari JJ, Goldberg DP, Minhas F, Razzaque B, Fortes S, Robles R, Lam TP, Bobes J, Iglesias C, García JÁ and Reed GM. Diagnostic consequences of a new category of anxious depression and a reduced duration requirement for anxiety symptoms in the ICD-11 PHC. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2019; 245:120-125.
  • Sun KST, Lam TP, Kwok KW, Chong KY, Poon MK and Wu DD. Treatment of Chinese adolescents with anorexia nervosa in Hong Kong: The gap between treatment expectations and outcomes. PLoS One. 2019; 14.
  • Sun KS, Lam TP, Piterman L, Lam KF, Tang WS, Kwok KW, Chan HY, Wu D, Tiwari A. Management of domestic violence by primary care physicians in Hong Kong; association with barriers, attitudes, training and practice background. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2019 Aug 17.
  • Sun KST, Lam TP, Lo TL and Wu DD. How Chinese psychiatrists see and manage stigmatisation of psychiatric patients: a qualitative study in Hong Kong. Evidence-Based Mental Health. 2019; 22:51-55.
  • Lam TP, Sun KST, Chan HY, Lau WCS, Lam KF and Sanson-Fisher R. Perceptions of Chinese Towards Dementia in Hong Kong—Diagnosis, Symptoms and Impacts. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. . 2019; 16:128.
  • Lam TP, Lo TL, Chao DVK, Lam KF, Lam WW and Sun KST. Consultation pattern of Hong Kong primary care attenders for psychological distress. Hong Kong Medical Journal. 2019; 25:S18-20.
  • Sun KS, Lam TP, Lam KF, Lo TL, Chao DVK, Lam EWW. Enablers to seeking professional help for psychological distress – a study on Chinese primary care attenders. Psychiatry Research. 2018 Jun;264:9-14.
  • Sun KS, Lam TP, Wu D. Chinese perspectives on primary care for common mental disorders: Barriers and policy implications. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 2018 Aug;64(5):417-426.
  • Chin W-Y, Wan EYF, Dowrick C, Arroll B, Cindy L. K. Lam. Tree analysis modeling of the associations between PHQ-9 depressive symptoms and doctor diagnosis of depression in primary care. Psychological Medicine 2018; 1–9.
  • Chin W.Y., Wan E.Y.F., Choi E.P.H., Chan K.T.Y., Cindy L. K. Lam. The 12-month incidence and predictors of PHQ-9-screened depressive symptoms in Chinese primary care patients. Ann Fam Med 2016; 14:47-53.
  • Sun KS, Lam TP, Lam KF, Lo TL, Chao DVK, Lam EWW. Barriers of Chinese primary care attenders to seeking help for psychological distress in Hong Kong. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2016;196:164-170.
  • Sun KS, Lam TP, Lam KF, Lo TL. Obstacles in managing mental health problems for primary care physicians in Hong Kong. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. 2015;42(6):714-22.
  • Lam TP, Goldberg DP, Dowell AC, Fortes S, Mbatia JK, Minhas FA, Klinkman MS. Proposed New Diagnoses of Anxious Depression and Bodily Stress Syndrome in ICD-11-PHC: An International Focus Group Study. Family Practice. 2013;30(1):76-87.
  • Lam TP, Mak KY, Goldberg D, Lam KF, Sun KS. Western mental health training for Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2012; 126(6):440-7.
  • Cindy L. K. Lam, Fong D.,Y.T Chin W.Y. Lee, P.W.H., Lam E.T.P., Lo Y.Y.C. Brief Problem-solving treatment in Primary Care (PST-PC) was not more effective than placebo for elderly patients screened - positive of psychological problems Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2010; 25:968-980.
  • Cindy L. K. Lam, Chin W.Y. Lee P.W.H., Lo Y.Y.C., Fong D.,Y.T. Lam T.P.  Unrecognized psychological problems impair quality of life and increase consultation rates in Chinese elderly patients.  Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2009; 24 (Aug):979-989.
  • Cindy L. K. Lam, Pan P.C., Chan A.W.T., Chan S.Y., Munro C. Can the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale be used on Chinese in general practice? Family Practice 1995; 12: 149-154.

Past research projects
  • The epidemiology and natural history of depressive disorders in primary care. PI: Weng-Yee Chin, 2010-2013, Commissioned Research on Mental Health Policy and Services (HK$1,399,186, May 1, 2010).
  • In-depth exploration of a bidirectional parent-child health relationship and its mediating and moderating factors among low-income families in Hong Kong. PI: Esther Yee-tak Yu, 2017-2019, Health and Medical Research Fund (#14151571, HK$1,183,868).
  • A randomised controlled trial on the effectiveness of screening and brief counselling for elderly patients with undiagnosed psychological problems in primary care. PI: Cindy L. K. Lam, 2002-2004, Health Care & Promotion Fund # 218016 ($806,990, 02-07-2002).
  • What are the enablers and barriers of help-seeking among the psychologically distressed in primary care setting? - Promoting mental well-being in Hong Kong. PI: Tai Pong Lam, 2013-2014, Health and Medical Research Fund - Full Grant. Amount awarded: HKD$602,400.
  • Depression and Anxiety in Global Primary Care Settings - A Field Study for the ICD-11-PHC. PI: Tai Pong LAM, 2014-2015. Small Project Funding. Amount awarded: HK$63,957.
  • E-health Mobile Application to Improve Testing and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections Amongst Hong Kong’s Youth: A Randomised Controlled Trial.. PI: Wong, WCW, 2018-2018, Seed Fund for Basic Research for Resubmission of GRF/ECS Proposals >3.5, HK$56,000.
  • What are the facilitators and obstacles to promote mental health help-seeking in primary care? – views of family physicians and psychiatrists. PI: Tai Pong LAM, 2011-2012. Small Project Funding. Amount awarded: HK$50,411.
  • Self-reported health, health service utilization, mental health status, and sleeping quality: Results from Population Health Survey 2014/15. PI: Cindy L. K. Lam, 2018-2019, Unfunded.
  • Exploring the views of hospital outpatients about the impact of dementia in Hong Kong. PI: Tai Pong Lam, 2018-2019.
  • Moral distress in medical students: A qualitative analysis of ethical issues identified in the clinical clerkships. PI: Weng-Yee Chin, 2017-2018, unfunded.
  • Psychometric properties of the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory in Hong Kong doctors. PI: Weng-Yee Chin, 2017-2019, unfunded.