Children Waiting Too Long for Mental Health Services

According to the Hospital Authority, the median wait time for non-emergent new cases of mental illness in children and adolescents in 2016/2017 is 69 weeks, whereas adults only need to wait 12 weeks. Long wait times drive more parents to turn to private treatment.

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Shocking service gaps in mental health services for children and adolescents

The government service gaps1 due to the complexity of the problems straddling multiple sectors.

  • Pre-school Age: Parenting education is not widely promoted.
  • Primary School Age/Adolescence: Parents are still not prepared to disclose their children's medical conditions to schools, which makes it difficult for schools to provide adequate and timely support.
  • Transitions (from pre-school age to school age and from adolescence to adulthood): There is some discontinuity of services due to age cut-off and institution-based service boundaries.
  • Youth: Conventional mental health services often get entrenched in a rigid way of responding to behaviour in youths.

Only concise diagnosis enables parents to seek optimal early interventions. The price of a private therapy session ranges from HK$1,200 to HK$3,150. Reviewing that the individual health insurance provides adequate cover for the private psychiatric services and rehabilitation becomes extremely important.

As mental health exclusion is commonly found in many life insurance policies, check your policy for the right coverage to create an enabling environment for healthy mental growth of children.

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