Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Hongkongers in London
Guidance, training and further resources
Welcome to the UK.
Having been through what has happened back home for the last few years, saying goodbye to what you love, and settling in a new life, we know that you may be experiencing all sorts of feelings for various reasons.
You may be experiencing worry about what the future may hold. Or you may be having trouble sleeping or have noticed changes in your appetite. Feeling these things is normal, but we want you to know that you are not alone, and help is available for whatever you are going through.
Here, we hope you will find information on how to access services, tools for getting your life established here in London, and resources around things you can do to keep yourself well and get support if you are finding it hard.
Who has created this page
This page has been created in partnership with community organisations across London, with Hong Kong professionals who work directly with the Hong Kong community, and London’s health partners, including the NHS in London and the Greater London Authority.
Children & Young People – and those supporting them
As you arrive and begin a new life here in London, it is normal for your child to experience negative thoughts and emotions, as well as stress and anxiety due to events that took place back home, or fears over what’s to come.
There is no one way of feeling or expressing distress. Some children may experience difficulties sleeping and nightmares, irritability or feeling low. They may regress in certain behaviours including bed wetting, separation anxiety, or increased outbursts. Their difficulties may not always be visible to others. Acknowledge and be understanding of the child’s feelings.
Tips for supporting children and young people:
Provide structure and routine, like a familiar meal or bedtime routine
Help them to do the things they enjoyed back home, such as sports, music, or social activities
They may ask questions about what is going to happen. Try and be honest but remind them that they are safe now
Support integration into the local community, through attendance at a local school/college or community activities
Help them to create a self-soothe box. These include something to smell, something to touch, something to look at. Include photos or special things that remind them of nice memories.
Do not be afraid to support the child or young person to ask for help.
Below are some contacts for services that can assist, as well as resources to support your young person thrive.
Hong Kong Well UK is an organisation made up of Hong Kong-born clinical psychologists, therapists, teachers, and parents. They have provided various mental health resources in Chinese on their website such as:
Moving to a new place as an adult, whether with your family or on your own, can be a stressful and traumatic experience. Whatever concerns, worries, or fears that you may be experiencing are completely normal.
Hearthtalk UK are a group of psychologists and counsellors who aim to help Hongkongers improve their mental health and wellbeing. They have developed a series of webinars on the following topics, all available to watch through Facebook. The videos cover topics such as:
Sleep hygiene – tips for those who are not sleeping well
NHS Introduction: how the NHS works, how to access support
It may be important for you to understand the different types of mental health problems and how they can affect you. Mind has created a glossary of mental health problems, how to deal with them, and where you can access further support.
Further resources for mental health
General guidance around your wellbeing has been created in partnership with Doctors of the World, and translated into Chinese.
Remember, you have a right to expect that NHS services provide interpretation support at every stage of your healthcare journey. This should be provided free of charge and available at every appointment. The NHS provides further information about this.
Wider support around money, housing, and Migrant Rights
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has developed a Migrant Londoners Hub to welcome new arrivals in London. This webpage contains a wealth of information including employment opportunities, education and training, and housing.
As a new arrival, it is important to know your rights in the UK. The Migrants’ Rights Network has developed a guide which details rights around banking, driving, education, employment and more.
Further information around employment rights can be found within this guide developed by the GLA and translated into Chinese.
If you need support with debt or money, there is support available. Additionally, a new Help With the Cost of Living Hub contains information about help you can get if you’re in financial difficulty, from the Mayor of London, the government, your local council, charities and advice centres.
A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You will not be wasting anyone’s time.
24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for
Help to speak to a mental health professional
An assessment to help decide on the best course of care
Alternatively, when life is tough the Samaritans are here to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how difficult.
Call free on 116 123
Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you feel you need immediate assistance.
Text “SHOUT” to 85258
Support in preventing suicide
More than 12 people a week take their own life in London. If someone was in crisis, would you know what to say?
Thrive LDN has partnered with the Zero Suicide Alliance, who have created a training program to help people to be able to identify warning signs and to feel comfortable having conversations about suicide.
This training only takes 20 minutes. But it could make all the difference to someone in need.
NHS 111 can help you if you have an urgent medical or dental problem and you’re not sure what to do. To get help from NHS 111, you can go to NHS 111 online (for people aged 5 and over only) or call 111.NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can ask for a translator if you need one. You can explore more information around how and when to use NHS 111.
Call 999 in a medical or mental health emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. Explore more information on when to call 999.
It is our intention to connect in the Hong Kong community with other migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from around the world who have resettled in London, in order to rebuild a larger sense of community.
The British Red Cross has developed multiple videos on life as a migrant or refugee entering the UK, and how to rebuild a sense of community. These can all be found on their website, we have highlighted two useful videos below.
We have worked with Hong Kong community partners and Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership (REAP) to create guidance for professionals or volunteers that will come into contact with the Hong Kong community.
Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership (REAP) has developed a briefing in collaboration with various community and NHS partners who work with Hongkongers, the wider refugee and asylum-seeking community, and mental health. Special thanks given to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for information around BN(O) arrivals in London. The briefing is intended to help you support the mental health and wellbeing of Hongkongers and assist them in navigating the wider health and social care system.
While not comprehensive, we hope to lay a framework for engagement and promote shared learning across the system. Here you can explore the impact of moving abroad on a Hongkongers’ wellbeing, how to engage with them in a community setting, and where their mental health and wellbeing needs may lie.
Sutton Vineyard hosted a Friendship Festival for Hong Kong arrivals in October 2021 to help support the integration of Hongkongers in London. This event was extremely successful and can be used as a model for future programming within the voluntary sector.
We have worked with the Refugee Council to publish a short video for volunteers and professionals on engaging with the community on this subject and practical methods to support these conversations.In the video, Paul Cilla La Corte, the London Therapeutic Services Manager for Refugee Council shares helpful information and advice learned from the nine years he has spent working with refugees and asylum seekers.
Supporting those in the health and care sector, voluntary and community sector, and education sector to provide trauma-informed and culturally competent care.
Thrive LDN has partnered with The Nelson Trust to deliver free-to-attend online trauma-informed training to support the mental health needs of Hongkongers arriving in London.
The online training is designed to support those in the health and care sector, voluntary and community sector, and education sector interacting with London Hongkongers to provide trauma-informed and culturally competent care. A total of nine sessions are planned and limited to 35 participants per session. Participants only need to attend one session relevant to their sector.