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care psychological services involving DHCs and ICCMWs, ranging from self-help and
               active monitoring provided by their GP network to interventions of low/high-intensity
               provided by trained mental health workers in the community. To ensure sufficient
               capacity for services at higher steps, the Government should consider leveraging
               counsellors to provide a steady manpower supply offering high-intensity therapy
               and clearly listing the qualifications necessary to provide these services. In parallel,
               the Government should consider elements that contribute to sustainable stepped
               care psychological services, such as subsidising the cost of training courses and
               recognising/accrediting non-CP psychological professionals.

                  Figure C.  Envisioned stepped care psychological therapies for
                           Hong Kong

                                                              Examples of ideal service providers:
                                   Step 4
                                mental health                           Psychiatrist /
                                                                      clinical psychologist
                                   Step 3                               Counsellor /
                                                                     trained social worker
                             High-intensity therapy
                                   Step 2                        Psychological well-being officer /
                             Low-intensity therapy                   occupational therapist
                                   Step 1                         All mental health professionals
                           Self-help & active monitoring             (particularly GPs/FMs)

               Social workers, as a key professional in Hong Kong’s mental health system, carry
               the expectation of providing evidence-based psychological interventions in addition
               to basic counselling to persons with mental health conditions in various settings,
               such as ICCMWs. Beyond training up paraprofessionals to provide interventions, the
               Government should also upskill and nurture social workers’ professional competency
               to cater to the surging demand for evidence-based psychological interventions.
               Often times, the medical nature of mental health, which manifests in complex social
               problems, is not something that social workers with basic training are trained to
               provide support for. To better support social workers, the Social Workers Registration
               Board (SWRB) should consider incentivising social workers to receive training to
               provide evidence-based psychological interventions, such as through training
               recognition. Conversely, trained social workers should be leveraged in existing
               service settings, such as ICCMWs and social service units for at-risk groups.

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