Joint University Mental-Wellness Project Launched

Dr Sylvia Kwok,
Convenor of CityU's Posi ve Educa on Laboratory

Funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC), the Joint University Mental-wellness Project (JUMP) started in October 2017.

It is co-organised by four leading institutions - City University of Hong Kong (CityU), the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and the University of Hong Kong – and aims to increase knowledge about mental health issues. Another objective is to enhance student well-being and develop a supportive culture in universities and in society generally.

The first phase of the project included four workshops. These gave participants a taste of the concept of positive psychology and how it can be applied. In the first workshop, students experienced the “flow” state by repeatedly practising magic tricks and basic circus skills. The second one let them reflect on their understanding and attitudes when facing negative emotions by analysing scenes from movies.

The third one sought to improve their teamwork with the introduction of a special analysis tool known as “Personality Dimensions”. In the fourth workshop, the diverse activities included storytelling and discussion groups, which helped the students to understand different character traits and their own signature strengths.

Positive psychology is a field of evidence-based social sciences, which studies the relationship between character strengths, positive emotions, engagement, accomplishments, meaning and happiness.

In contrast with the conventional approach to psychology which focuses on the impact of psychopathology on personal development, positive psychology emphasises holistic development. It aims to help individuals discover, nurture and use their character strengths and latent potential. By facilitating personal development through positive aspects such as optimism, gratitude and love, the hope is that people can deal more effectively with the stress and challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.

Dr Sylvia KWOK, Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, along with other colleagues, established CityU's Positive Education Laboratory in 2015. It promotes positive education for students, teachers, parents and the wider community. The laboratory has teamed up with about 100 local schools to provide consultation and launch activities such as teacher training, parent education, and the design of a positive education curriculum. There are also student projects, seminars, professional training sessions, and opportunities for academic research.

Recently, the laboratory received a generous donation of HK$1 million from Dr Joseph LEE Chung-tak, Chairman of Wofoo Plastics & Chemicals Group and President of Wofoo Social Enterprises. This demonstrates his appreciation of the College's excellence in research and support for the project's future development.