Barriers to Overcoming Mood Disorders

Hong Kong people easily have mood disorders but many of them will brush them aside. According to the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey released in 2015, an estimated one in seven suffered various levels of mental health issues. It is therefore critical to understand the causes of mood disorders and key barriers to treatment.

Causes of Mood Disorders

Factors which result in mood disorders vary from people to people include external and internal ones:

  1. Environmental factors, such as upbringing, work stress, family problems, marriage failure, chronic illnesses, traumatic life events, alcohol or drug abuse
  2. Psychological factor refers to personality traits such as persistent, demanding, perfectionistic, passive, emotional volatile and nervous
  3. Biological impact is associated with imbalances in neurotransmitter
  4. Genetic influence

Major Roadblocks for Mood Disorders Treatments

Insufficient public awareness and negative attitudes towards mental illness and its treatment create key barriers:

  1. Stigma of seeing psychiatrists
    The prejudices and negative stereotypes that shame those with mental illness and prevent them from seeking help constitute stigma and discrimination.
  2. Refusal of medication or treatment
    Some patients suspect that psychiatric drugs are prescribed to control their behavior and they choose to refuse treatment. People may also give up on pursuing treatment if they do not think therapy works for them.
  3. Limited access
    Consultation time constraint, long patient waiting list, and difficulty in discharging patients to primary care mostly affect public psychiatrists.
  4. Financial concerns
    The rising medication costs, high co-pays/deductibles and the lack of insurance coverage of mental health problems, determine whether patients will seek treatment. In 2008, Consumer Council mentioned in the Hong Kong Mental Health Conference that the coverage of services for mental health to be comparable to physical health coverage. Nowadays, insurers in Hong Kong first to introduce critical illness insurance plan covering mental health conditions in the local market, which focuses both prevention and protection.

A Proactive Approach to Mental Wellness: Screening Self-Tests

Screening self-tests help give us an initial assessment on our mental health, which can give us a snapshot of our feelings or identify signs that we should be more aware of. However, self-test results are not a substitute for a medical diagnosis. It is best to talk to doctors or health care providers for further assessments.

Simply taking a few minutes to do the screening self-test can help getting a better understanding of your own mental wellness status. If you have any concerns on the results, print out your results and bring them to the appointment, the results will be helpful to start a conversation with your doctor.


  1. Mental Health Review Report (March, 2017)
  2. Sun Kai Sing, Lam Tai Pong, Lam Kwok Fai and Lo Tak Lam (2017),
    "Barriers and facilitators for psychiatrists in managing mental health patients in Hong Kong-Impact of Chinese culture and health system"

Mind+ Critical Illness Protection Plan

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