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dayday 330: Recipe for Mental Health in the City of Hong Kong

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“I’m taking leave today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully I’ll be back next week efreshed and back to 100%.” The email sent by a worker called Madalyn went viral on Twitter, and how her CEO responded caught attention in particular. Her boss thanked her for sending the email, which reminded him the importance ofmental wellness and helped cut through the stigma of mental health. According to a report, Hong Kong’s happiness level and health indices ranked 128th and 62th respectively among 140 countries. Hong Kong also tops the rank as the fifth most stressed city in the world. It’s time to face the problem - how stressed out is Hong Kong people?

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No Health without Mental Health

Ms. Annie Tam, Chairperson of the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (New Life), noted that Hong Kong is a high-tempo, action-packed and densely populated city. The mental health challenges Hong Kong facing are immense and multifaceted. As stated by the World Health Organization, there is “no health without mental health”. Mental health in Hong Kong is an increasingly important subject. As a charitable non-governmental organisation (NGO) focusing on mental health services, New Life has over 50 years strived to promote and provide a variety of quality “recovery-oriented” services, such as residential homes, vocational rehabilitation services, community centres, family support services, and clinical psychological services etc., to meet the different needs of the population.

“Prevention is better than cure”, Annie stressed. New Life therefore also puts emphasis on promotion of community mental health. New Life believes that mental well-being embraces the holistic health of body(3), mind(3) and spirit(0). (There is phonetic similarity of body(3), mind(3) and spirit(0) in Cantonese). “For the general public, it would be nice if they can safeguard and improve their body, mind and spirit (330) well-being by simply undertaking some simple yet interesting activities. This area is exactly what New Life is working hard on”, said Annie. There has been research evidence to show that taking a micro break everyday can help boost a person’s mood and relieve stress thus fostering our 330 well-being. Indeed, New Life has launched the “dayday330” campaign this year, encouraging everyone of us to take a micro break a day, just for 3 minutes and 30 seconds, by practising a breathing exercise on mindfulness, listening to music, or taking a walk, etc. Through taking at least a simple micro break, we all remind ourselves to “love” ourselves thus safeguarding our 330 well-being.

“In order to build a sustainable society, enterprises of all sizes not only should carry out social responsibility, but also collaborate with community organizations to achieve “CSV” (Creating Shared Value). GS1 HK can play the significant role as ‘super connector’ by connecting New Life with tens of thousands corporate members and partners to execute more CSV initiatives. In the long run, I hope GS1 HK can become an enabling platform for companies to implement their CSV initiatives, especially for SMEs with limited resources.” said Anna.

In fact, GS1 HK helped promote the message of well-being in our 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner by using the organic products from farmfresh330 (the social enterprise run by New Life) as ingredients for some of the dishes.

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Creating Shared Value with GS1 HK

The dayday330 campaign invites all of us to sign the charter and pledge to ourselves to care about our 330 well-being. It also encourages enterprises, shops, organisations and schools to become supporting organisations and help promote 330 wellness to the general public. This campaign has gained the support of the Government, many different organizations, enterprises and the general public. Annie is grateful to the GS1 HK for being one of the supporting organizations of dayday330. GS1 HK, with expertise in latest retail technology and an extensive membership network, and New Life, the pioneer in providing mental health services in a charitable NGO setting and also driving a social mission through the development of social enterprises, will be able to achieve synergy and co-create meaningful social values.

Ms Anna Lin, Chief Executive of GS1 HK, is honoured to partner with New Life for its contribution in promoting mental wellness and recovery-oriented services in the city for over 50 years and for running 22 social enterprises. New Life’s solid foundation in serving the community has made it a reliable and respectable partner to GS1 HK.

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Eat Fresh & Help Others @ farmfresh330

Selling organic and healthy food products, farmfresh330 provides training and job opportunities for people in recovery of mental illness, and facilitates their community integration and self-reliance. New Life Farm, having obtained organic certification, harvests organic vegetables and delivers to various point of sales of farmfresh330 everyday. In addition, farmfresh330 sells products like O’beans Organic Soy Products, Fresh News Organic Lemongrass Tea/ Roselle Tea etc. produced from the sheltered workshops operated by New Life.

farmfresh330 also runs an e-shop (http://eshop330.hk). Annie believes that farmfresh330 , in the form of real stores, serve as a natural platform for the public to get in touch with people in recovery of mental illness. She hopes to run the stores in different locations of the territory. The operation of farmfresh330 will keep pace with time, incorporating “Smart Retail” and new technology to enhance operational efficiency in the future.

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For social enterprises to maintain sustainability and create more opportunities for the under-privileged group, the key is tripartite collaboration among the community, Government and business sector. The technology and network of GS1 HK can enhance our operation and bring us business opportunities. We welcome all sorts of collaboration with different organisations. Let us all join hands in making a concerted effort to promote 330 well-being, and help foster a healthy society for all of us in Hong Kong.

Annie Tam

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