Psychosocial Health

Psychological Health of Adolescents

Adolescence is a stage which the youth experience a rapid change in their physical, psychological and social development. If they do not know how to deal with their conflicts and worries, they may feel lost or frustrated. Their learning efficiency and interpersonal relationship may also be affected.

It is at the same time a good opportunity for youth to learn to understand and accept themselves, develop harmonious relations with others, and master the skills of emotion and stress management so that they can develop and actualise their potential.

Psychological Features of Adolescents

The rapid psychological, mental and social development of adolescents lead to the following psychological features:

  1. Concern about self-image

    • Adolescents are very conscious of their appearance and inner-self
    • Self-esteem is unstable. Sometimes their self-confidence is not sufficient while sometimes they are overconfident
    • Tend to imitate certain kinds of people or worship idols in the process of exploring self-identity
  2. Seek independence

    • Start to question parents' and teachers' authority
    • Concern about privacy. Ask for more privacy from parents
    • Begin to develop a set of values
  3. Concern about peer's recognition

    • In order to obtain peer's recognition, they often try to become trendy. Sometimes they would even change or give up some of their principles in order to be assimilated in the peer group. They may also do some undesirable behaviours under peer pressure
  4. Curious about new things, willing to take risks

    • Have extensive interests. Become curious and adventurous. Sometimes become reckless
  5. Full of ideals and imagination

    • Pursue fairy-tale perfection and easily neglect the limitations of real life, resulting in frustration when things do not turn out as what they expect
  6. Sentimental

    • Emotion is easily affected
    • Sometimes in high spirit while sometimes have low mood
  7. Perplexed by sex

    • Confused about various sexual developments
    • Have fantasies towards the opposite sex and dating

Adolescents’ Source of Stress and Ways to Manage

When adolescents encounter stress, they can:

Worries about self-image Self-help Tips
  • Does my puberty start too early or too late?
  • Does my appearance or figure look good?
  • Am I good enough?
  • Accept yourself: a good personality is more important than appearance. Note that there is imperfection in every person. Avoid comparing yourself with others. Never lose self-confidence due to inadequacy in certain areas
  • Appreciate yourself. List out your strength and ability and post it in an eye-catching place to encourage yourself
  • Be open-minded and participate in different activities in order to know your ability, interest and talent
  • Respond positively to others' comments and improve your weakness proactively. Learn from failures. Review what can be improved next time
Relationship with parents and family members Self-help Tips
  • How can I improve relationship with my parents?
  • How can I get along well with my brothers and sisters?
  • Take the initiative to communicate with family members
  • Gain your parents' trust by using action and time to prove your maturity in handling matters
  • Be frank with family members. Accept, understand and care about each other
Academic prospect Self-help Tips
  • How can I achieve satisfactory academic results?
  • How to choose between work and further education?
  • Can I be successful?
  • Keep exploring effective learning skills, try to overcome difficulties and seek help if necessary
  • Understand that academic achievement is not simply represented by marks on examination papers, but includes the experience of the whole learning process
  • Have clear learning objectives and personal goals
Worries about friendship and love Self-help Tips
  • How to make friends with others and maintain friendship?
  • Should I date?
  • How to attract the opposite sex?
  • Treat friends with sincerity and honesty
  • Participate in group activities more frequently to broaden your social circle
  • Notice and praise others' good behaviours
  • Be considerate and try to understand the reasons behind others' behaviours
  • Learn to forgive and apologize
  • Listen actively and be empathetic
  • Be polite, amiable and ready to help
  • Maintain a gentle tone and friendly attitude when communicating with others
  • Be aware of others' or your own mood changes, and express your emotion appropriately
  • Listen attentively and be considerate of others, listen to others’ opinions, reflect yourself and try to improve
  • Talk to somebody you trust or consult a social worker when you encounter problem related to dating

Effective Emotion Management Tips

DO’s
  • Stay away temporarily from the persons or things which have conflicts with you, for example, go to wash your face or drink a glass of water. Calm yourself down first. Then analyze the cause of the conflict
  • Verbalise your feelings and the reasons for such feelings, for example "I'm very angry because my schoolmates laughed at my short stature"
  • Divert your attention to other things temporarily, or try something relaxing such as listening to music, doing exercises, etc.
  • When facing difficulties, express your emotions without hurting yourself and others
  • Build up your supporting network. Talk to others proactively. Share your worries with parents, teachers, schoolmates and friends
  • When family members, teachers and friends cannot help, you should consult professionals like medical personnel, social worker or clinical psychologist
DONT’s
  • Avoiding the problem is not a solution. It will only make stress accumulate and thus prolong your misery and worries
  • Smoking, drinking, drug abuse, etc. may bring temporary relief only, without solving the problem. On the contrary, they will harm your body and your family and thus worsen the problem
  • Suicide or self-mutilation cannot solve your problem. This pessimistic means will hurt the people who care about you. Do take care of yourself and treasure your life. All problems have a way out

Stress Management Skills

Stress exists in our daily life everywhere and is inevitable. In order to avoid the physical and mental health damages caused by excessive or continuous stress, it is essential to take proper preventive and relief methods.

Preventing stress:

  • Understand and accept yourself

    • Appreciate your strengths and admit your weaknesses
    • Set reasonable expectation and achievable goals according to your capabilities
  • Manage time properly

    • Handle things gradually and step by step. Avoid hasty actions
  • Try your best. Do not over worry
  • Keep a healthy body and mind

    • Maintain a heavy diet, have sufficient sleep, keep regular hours, do appropriate amount of exercise, develop healthy hobbies, stay away from smoking, drinking and drug abuse
  • Broaden your horizon, be well-equipped

    • Read more books, pay more attention to things around you, and listen to others' experiences and opinions so as to enhance your skills and resources to solve problems
  • Establish good interpersonal relationship

    • Communicate with others proactively and strengthen your support network

Relieving stress:

  • Put aside your problem temporarily and engage in some leisure activities such as sports, listening to music, painting, etc.
  • Talk to people proactively
  • Find out the source of stress. Try different practical solutions and face your problem proactively and optimistically
  • Do relaxation exercise such as breathing exercise, muscle relaxation exercise

Counselling Hotline Services

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups
"Youthline" 2777 8899
Mon-Sat    2:00 pm to 2:00 am

Breakthrough Counselling Centre
Counselling Service 2377 8511 (Make appointment for counselling)
Mon, Wed to Fri 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
2:00 pm to 8:00 pm
(except public holidays)

Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association
Counselling Hotline 2711 6622
Mon-Fri    7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Caritas HUGS Centre
Counselling Hotline for Young Psychotropic Substance Abusers
2453 7030
Mon-Fri 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
(except public holidays)

Hong Kong Christian Service
PS33 Counselling Service for Psychotropic Substance Abusers
2368 8269
Mon 2:00 pm to 6:00pm
Tue-Fri 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
(except public holidays)

Hong Kong Caritas Family Service
18288
(24 hours)

The Samaritan Befrienders HK
Emotional Support Service
2389 2222
(24 hours)

Hospital Authority Mental Health
2466 7350
(24 hours)

* Please consult respective organisations for the most up-dated information.

(Revised in April 2021)

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