2016 Hong Kong Altruism Index Release and Mobile Application “Helppiness” Launch Ceremony
The HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) held a press conference on April 12 (Wednesday) to present the latest survey findings on altruism and well-being and officially launch a new mobile application named ‘Helppiness’.
2016 Hong Kong Altruism Index
CSRP released the first Altruism Index Survey results in 2014, which gained much public attention. An academic paper was later published on the validation and reliability of the Altruism Index. With the generous support of Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation, CSRP conducted another round of territory-wide survey on altruism in late 2016. A total of 3,016 Hong Kong citizens were randomly recruited in the study on their altruistic behaviours and well-being status.
According to the findings, the average altruism score for Hong Kong residents is 5.25out of 10, only around average, therefore leaving much room for improvement. The total participation rate of altruistic behaviours surged from 61.1% in 2014 to 71.1% in 2016, a significant improvement compared to 2014. The Altruism Index consists of four dimensions, namely Volunteering, Monetary Donation, Blood and Organ Donations, and Informal Help. In the past two years, there were huge improvement in people’s participation in voluntary work and offering informal help to others in Hong Kong-the participation rates of volunteering raised from 39.1% to 51.3%; and informal help increased from 82.4% to 98.0%. The participation rate for monetary donation remained high in 2016 and its increase was insignificant as compared to 2014. The participation rate for blood and organ donations remained low at 50% in 2016, from around 44% in 2014.
When compared to 2014, there were no significant changes in Hong Kong people’s satisfaction of physical health and family relationship while job satisfaction of those working reduced significantly. According to statistical analysis, the well-being of people in Hong Kong is positively associated with the overall altruism scores, volunteering, monetary donation, blood and organ donations and informal help. This once again demonstrates that helping others is the source of happiness.
Allan: Volunteering in retirement helps others and oneself
The 2016 Survey indicated a surge in the number of senior volunteers from 2014. Allan, a retiree, shared his volunteering experience in the past 18 years. He first worked as a volunteer through his company. After joining, he became more confident in himself and found the purposes and values of life. Allan told how volunteering has played a pivotal role in enhancing his physical and mental well-being, reducing his sense of loss and depression from retirement. Senior volunteers are having an advantage over young people in elderly services because they can understand the needs of old people more, he said, and encouraged more retirees to participate in volunteering to help others and themselves.
Shan: Caring a friend in need is guarding life
The 2016 Survey also revealed a significant increase in the participation rate of informal help among young people. Shan, a tertiary student, shared how he had provided emotional support to his friends. He recalled his anxiousness and helplessness when his friend first told him his suicide thoughts. Shan managed to remain calm and accompanied his friend to seek professional help from the school counsellor. After the incident, he has become more confident in offering help to those emotionally distressed. When he was asked whether he felt tired of being always the carer, he agreed that there were times of feeling a heavy load due to the emotions of his friends. In such circumstances, he understood he should not rely on his own strength but to seek professional help. He said: “A simple greeting like “how are you?” is all you need to express your care to a person. Put aside the embarrassment that worries you and reach out to your friends in need.”
Mobile Application “Helppiness”
In the 2014 Survey, it was revealed that many peopledid not engage in altruistic acts due to a lack of information. In this regard, CSRP has developed “Helppiness”, an information platform and the first of its kind in Hong Kongto provide information on helping opportunities including volunteering work, Flag Day donation, blood donation, and daily acts of kindness. Users can search and record a wide range of helping opportunitiesusing the app. They can also upload information to promote informal helping in society.
Mobile phone users can download ‘Helppiness’by scanning the QR code on the right, or by searching “Helppiness” in the Google Play Store for Android users or the App Store for iPhone users. It is available in traditional Chinese and English for both Android and iPhone users. For more information about Helppiness, please visit http://csrp.hku.hk/helppiness.
Speech by the representative of the Chow Tai Fook Charity foundation
The 2016 Survey and the development of Helppiness were supported by the Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation. Mr Tsang, Patrick On Yip, a representative from the foundation, said he was saddened by recent student suicide cases. He was happy to learn from the survey findings that many people consider helping others the source of happiness. He encouraged the public to download Helppiness to help promote the spirit and acts of altruism.
About HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP), HKU
Since its establishment in 2002, the CSRP has been promoting the use of Public Health Approach in tackling suicide problems in Hong Kong. It has built up its reputation in suicide research and prevention worldwide and extended its research scope to the well-being of individuals as well as the whole society. The CSRP believes that empirical research would optimise practices and ultimately contribute to the improvement of a society.