CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Church runs workshops on emotional well being

HONG KONG (SE): There were 231 attendees at a workshop designed to help people deal with their feelings and conflicts with family or friends due to differing views about the extradition bill and related issues. It was held at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Shek Kip Mei, on August 4. 
The workshop was organised by the Catholic Ad Hoc Group for Psychosomatic and Spiritual Care, which was set up by the diocese in early July to deal with the emotional and spiritual issues related to the extradition bill, and Life Inhering Association for Family Heartfelt Reconnecting Company Limited.
It covered meditations, talks, sharings and reflections, group discussions and prayers. Participants were invited to examine their own feelings, relax their minds and think about how to maintain the unity of families and communities despite diverse views. 
Discussions were led by Father John Baptist Kwan Ki-tong, who teaches spiritual education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Grace Cheung Pau Yi-kum, a veteran counsellor and director of Life Inhering Association for Family Heartfelt Reconnecting Company Limited; as well as Peter Cheung Ka-hing, certified focusing trainer of Hong Kong Focusing Institute.
Participants shared about the pains and sufferings during the period of social unrest, their wish for a peaceful mind and their concern on the people around them.
An elderly woman said that she felt the pain of “being torn apart,” and needed hope and peace through prayers. 
She remembered that when she was young, she placed importance on working hard for the future, but noted that today’s young people are willing to sacrifice their future and pay a heavy price in their fight for their demands; some even vandalised the Legislative Council Building, which really broke her heart.
She said she argued with her daughter, who insisted that it was not the young protesters who threw bricks at the police as reported by the media and said the quarrels have torn her heart apart.
Volunteers who helped facilitate small group activities included social workers, focusing trainers and clinical psychologists. Some participants pointed out during group discussions that it is necessary to have mercy in the heart in order to avoid judging others, while some said they felt less lonely in joining the workshop.
Another workshop was scheduled at St. Benedict’s Church, Shatin, on August 11.
A report released by the School of Public Health under the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong on July 11, showed that the number of people who believe that they may suffer from depression increased in June and July when various incidents related to extradition bill occurred (Sunday Examiner, July 28). 
The survey team urged people to pay more attention to their emotional well being and be aware of any signs of depression, like showing a general lack of interest over a prolonged period of time, or considering self-harm. 
It encouraged people experiencing these symptoms to seek professional help and not to allow emotionally-disturbing news or online discussions clutter their minds.

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