Mental Health and Behavioural Science

The mission of the Mental Health and Behavioural Science research group is to conduct high quality research in mental health promotion and intervention and guiding/facilitating people’s adopting healthy lifestyle/behaviour. Its main research priorities include: (a) improving mental health and well-being across lifespan, particularly in adults and older people; (b) development and evaluation of innovative psychosocial and family interventions for people with chronic physical/mental illnesses; and (c) community-based rehabilitation for disabling physical and mental illnesses.

Signature Research Work

Prof. W.T. Chien has established and tested the effects of psycho-education, motivational interviewing, mindfulness-based, mutual support group, and other psychosocial intervention programmes for community-resided people with mental health problems, and their family members in Chinese communities. Recently, Prof. Chien’s controlled trials has evidenced and supported very noticeable benefits of a mindfulness-based psycho-education programme to people with psychotic disorders, and of a problem-solving based self-help programme to their family caregivers.

Prof. Helen Chan is one of the pioneers in promoting end-of-life care and advance care planning in Hong Kong. Her studies have identified and evaluated innovative yet culturally sensitive ways to improve the end-of-life care and communication in people with advanced illness and frail older people and their family carers. She has also explored means for improving organisational culture in supporting for advance care planning in the community, hospital and long-term care settings.

Prof. H.Y. Cheng focuses on the care of stroke survivors’ family health. Her randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of a strength-oriented programme for these family caregivers demonstrated benefits to their psychological well-being. Her systematic review of psychosocial intervention for these caregivers has provided evidence for the development of local and international practice protocols.

Dr. Y.Y. Chong has strong research interest on the applications of contextual behavioural psychotherapies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), compassion-based and mindfulness-based interventions, in families of individuals with chronic health conditions. Dr. Chong has received trainings on ACT organized by the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) and ACT internship training in Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Her clinical trial has supported the notifiable benefits of an ACT-based parental asthma management programme on parental psychological well-being and childhood asthma outcomes.

International Research Collaborations

The research group has strong collaborations with academic and clinical researchers in mental health and behavioural science in healthcare and social services.

For instance, several funded projects on family bibliotherapy and (medication) adherence therapy in schizophrenia and psychotic disorders has been conducted in collaboration with psychiatrists, clinicians, medical and nursing researchers, social workers, and psychologists in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States; a cross-regional project with researchers and clinicians in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore to explore and delineate the concepts of advance care planning.

Selected Research Projects