Moving the boundaries: co-creating an innovative online crisis support services for youth in Hong Kong: International Conference on Change and Innovation for a Better World: The Future of Social Work Profession

Paul Siu-Fai Yip, Lynn Tang, Ken Ngai, Shirley Chow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Suicide is the leading cause of death for youth in Hong Kong. Help-seeking patterns among youth have shifted away from traditional suicide hotlines to social messaging and text-based channels. Multiple agencies, including service providers, university research centre and IT experts, co-created the Jockey Club Online Youth Emotional Support “Open Up” which offers the first 24/7 operated online-crisis support service targeting youth between 11-35 years old in Hong Kong. Open Up aims to engage at-risk youth who do not seek help from conventional services and connect them with appropriate services, increase their awareness of mental health issues and improve their willingness to seek help. This symposium reflects on the achievements and challenges encountered in its first year of service with sharing from the perspectives of different partners.Youth can instantly message with counsellors through web portal and popular social media platforms. Connectedness care through text messages is used to engage with help seekers to facilitate referral of services where appropriate. Service, IT and evaluation teams work closely to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service. Online training courses for volunteers are developed and real -time suicide risk level for triage and automated case summary are under development using machine learning. Evaluation is incorporated in a dynamic manner to provide quick feedback to service operators and IT team to enhance service delivery. Online crisis support counselling will be demanded by an even broader population in the near future. Achievements and challenges of ‘Open Up’ as a unique cross-agency service will be discussed in terms of the use of technology, frontline services and training, online and offline collaboration, embedded evaluation and the partnership model. Discussions will have implication for using technology to develop similar services for other at-risk groups in Hong Kong and overseas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019

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