Jockey Club Online Youth Emotional Support “Open Up” is the first 24/7 operated online-crisis support service in Hong Kong targeting youth between 11-35 years old. It was launched to the public on October 7 2018. Help-seekers can chat with counsellors via popular social media platforms including Facebook Messenger, SMS, WeChat, and the official web portal www.openup.hk (with WhatsApp to be added later) regarding their study, family, work and interpersonal induced emotional distress. This project is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, led by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of the University of Hong Kong and jointly operated with three leading youth non-profit organizations, Caritas-Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, and The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong.
Program Objectives and Components
The Program has the following objectives:
- Engage at-risk youth and make appropriate referrals,
- Equip a community of suicide prevention gatekeepers,
- Nurture and sustain a pool of volunteers with trained skills and competence in online crisis intervention,
- Improve the general youth population’s acceptance of seeking help for mental health issues,
- Evaluate and disseminate knowledge.
Up to August 2019, Open Up counsellors have served more than 19,800 cases, over 25,000 hours of service and exceeded 1.4 million messages. The majority of messages consists of less than 9 words while the longest message has over 2,000! Open Up has received more cases from female than male, but all genders are welcome! The popular hours for youths chatting online is from 8 pm to 12 midnight. Youth come because they feel “comfortable chatting online than talking to someone in person or on the phone”. The pressures of school, work and life can be overwhelming and youth can come to Open Up and chat with counsellors anytime and anywhere when in need.
Open Up is always looking for volunteers, to become one, please check for more information via: https://www.openup.hk/volunteer.htm?lang=zh-Hant