Ph.D in Biotechnology and an expert in Machine Learning
Hidden and vulnerable children living in crammed homes are exploited in overcrowded communities
Single mom Ye shares a 9.3 square meter (100 square foot) apartment with a 10-year-old daughter, Fang. Feeling the walls with her hands as vacates the kitchen for Fang who needs the toilet. Interrupting breakfast Fang crouches down to shower, keeping the stove and condiments dry.
Struck by her stepmother at 12 years-old in rural China. Ye is blind in the right eye, with 10% of sight in the other. Hindered by poor eyesight she could only find work as a carer for a disabled child. Rent at the sub-divided unit or partitioned flat consumes 50% of her income. And has risen 10% in the last 2 years. Ye stays put as rents in her Kowloon neighborhood are as unaffordable.
Consoling herself, she reminds Fang that 'At least we have a roof over our heads, this is home. It's better than having to work on the farm back in China, under the sun and rain. I'm satisfied with where I am now'. Fang cringes and shrugs, Ye smiles and reminisces, 'When Fang first came here, she found it strange. Saying the farm used to raise chickens is bigger '.
Tony ran away from home in his teens during the first year of secondary school. And has lived in subdivided flats since. The 39-year-old shares the 46. 5 square meter apartment with 21 other residents. Stacked on top of others, his 1.4 square meter metal cage enclosure hardly fits a single bed mattress. Hung outside the cage are all his personal belongings. A shield from the cacophony of squabbling over the use of the common toilet cum bathroom.
He stays out most of the time until he needs to sleep. Without a job, he is unable to afford a better quality of housing. With an average waiting time for public housing at 7 years. He has little choice but stays put.
Beneath the facade of Hong Kong's wealth hides 200,000 similar stories of the low-income. With Sub-divided apartments and caged homes as the only option. Property prices in Hong Kong are the highest in the world. Excluding the kitchen and bathroom. At 5.7 square meters, the smallest private apartment is in Happy Valley Hong Kong. And will cost upwards of GBP $22,000 per square meter.
Abstract: This study re-examines the healthy migrant phenomenon in China's internal migration process and investigates the different trajectories of place of origin on migrants' self-rated physical health and psychological distress. Data came from a household survey (N = 1474) conducted in Beijing between May and October in 2009. Multiple regression techniques were used to model the associations between self-rated physical health, psychological distress, and migration experience, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics. The healthy migrant phenomenon was observed among migrants on self-rated physical health but not on psychological distress. Different health status trajectories existed between physical health versus mental health and between rural-to-urban migrants versus urban-to-urban migrants. The study draws particular attention to the diminishing physical health advantage and the initial high level of psychological distress among urban-to-urban migrants. The initial physical health advantage indicates that it is necessary to reach out to the migrant population and provide equal access to health services in the urban area. The high level of psychological distress suggests that efforts targeting mental health promotion and mental disorder prevention among the migrant population are an urgent need. The findings of the study underline the necessity to make fundamental changes to the restrictive hukou system and the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities in urban and rural areas. These changes will lessen the pressure on big cities and improve the living conditions and opportunities of residents in townships/small cities and the countryside.
Pub.: 26 Mar '11, Pinned: 27 Apr '17
Abstract: The urban environment has become the main place that people live and work. As a result it can have profound impacts on our health. While much of the literature has focused on physical health, less attention has been paid to the possible psychological impacts of the urban environment. In order to understand the potential relevance and importance of the urban environment to population mental health, we carried out a systematic review to examine the associations between objective measurements of the urban environment and psychological distress, independently of the individual's subjective perceptions of the urban environment. 11 peer-reviewed papers published in English between January 2000 and February 2012 were identified. All studies were cross-sectional. Despite heterogeneity in study design, the overall findings suggested that the urban environment has measurable associations with psychological distress, including housing with deck access, neighbourhood quality, the amount of green space, land-use mix, industry activity and traffic volume. The evidence supports the need for development of interventions to improve mental health through changing the urban environment. We also conclude that new methods for measuring the urban environment objectively are needed which are meaningful to planners. In particular, future work should look at the spatial-temporal dynamic of the urban environment measured in Geographical Information System (GIS) in relation to psychological distress.
Pub.: 07 Sep '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17
Abstract: The neighbourhood environment can assist the adoption and maintenance of an active lifestyle and affect the physical and mental well-being of older adults. The psychosocial and behavioural mechanisms through which the environment may affect physical and mental well-being are currently poorly understood.This observational study aims to examine associations between the physical and social neighbourhood environments, physical activity, quality of life and depressive symptoms in Chinese Hong Kong older adults.An observational study of the associations of measures of the physical and social neighbourhood environment, and psychosocial factors, with physical activity, quality of life and depressive symptoms in 900 Hong Kong older adults aged 65+ years is being conducted in 2012-2016. The study involves two assessments taken 6 months apart. Neighbourhood walkability and access to destinations are objectively measured using Geographic Information Systems and environmental audits. Demographics, socioeconomic status, walking for different purposes, perceived neighbourhood and home environments, psychosocial factors, health status, social networks, depressive symptoms and quality of life are being assessed using validated interviewer-administered self-report measures and medical records. Physical functionality is being assessed using the Short Physical Performance Battery. Physical activity and sedentary behaviours are also being objectively measured in approximately 45% of participants using accelerometers over a week. Physical activity, sedentary behaviours, quality of life and depressive symptoms are being assessed twice (6 months apart) to examine seasonality effects on behaviours and their associations with quality of life and depressive symptoms.The study received ethical approval from the University of Hong Kong Human Research Ethics Committee for Non-Clinical Faculties (EA270211) and the Department of Health (Hong Kong SAR). Data are stored in a password-protected secure database for 10 years, accessible only to the named researchers. Findings will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Pub.: 07 Jan '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17
Abstract: Hong Kong is well known for its high-rise and high-density housing where living conditions are inevitably linked to psychological distress. Understanding environmental factors at household- and neighbourhood-level is essential for future urban planning. The present study examines the association between built environment, housing and neighbourhood quality and psychological distress in a sample of 702 participants recruited from the longitudinal study of Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey (HKMMS). Participants with significant psychological distress perceived poorer quality of household and neighbourhood environments in various domains. Smaller household size and older property were also associated with increased risk of psychological distress, after controlling for other potential confounders. The data shed light on the importance of urban environment in the ecological model of mental health.
Pub.: 16 Sep '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17
Abstract: WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: Frailty and multimorbidity are common in later life. A higher level of frailty is associated with a higher risk of adverse physical and psychological health situations. Older adults with pain have been reported to be lonelier and more depressed, as well as less happy and less satisfied with their life as compared to those without pain. In view of the high prevalence of pain among older adults and the reversibility of frailty, it is important to explore the relationship between pain, frailty and psychological parameters in order to devise patient-centred interventions. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: Frailty index is positively correlated with the presence of pain, and associated with gender, functional mobility and loneliness. Among these significant variables, loneliness was the factor that contributed the most to the frailty index. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: It is essential to put the focus of healthcare on both the physical and psychological aspects of well-being. All nurses are advised to improve the management of pain in older people in order to lower the levels of pain, frailty and psychological distress among this population. Nursing care should address the loneliness level especially the problem of social loneliness among older adults particularly those living in nursing homes.Introduction In view of the high prevalence of pain among older adults and the reversibility of frailty, it is important to explore the relationship between pain, frailty and psychological parameters in order to devise patient-centred interventions. Aim To examine the levels of frailty, pain and psychological parameters among older adults living in Hong Kong nursing homes, and the cross-sectional relationships among these items. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted among 178 residents from six nursing homes. Frailty, pain, mobility, happiness, loneliness and life satisfaction of participants were assessed using validated questionnaires. Results A multiple linear regression (R(2) = 0.338, P < 0.05) showed that the frailty index was associated with loneliness, functional mobility and gender. Among these significant variables, loneliness was the factor that contributed the most to the frailty index. Discussion It is essential to put the focus of healthcare on both the physical and psychological aspects of well-being. Findings suggest that apart from improving mobility and reducing pain, loneliness could be a target of psychosocial interventions to reduce frailty and improve quality of life. Implications for practice It is advised that nursing care should address loneliness, especially the problem of social loneliness among older adults particularly those living in nursing homes.
Pub.: 17 Jun '16, Pinned: 27 Apr '17
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