After violence, one-third of Hong Kong citizens reported PTSD symptoms: Lancet study

WION Web Team Delhi, India Jan 10, 2020, 03.34 PM(IST)

A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask takes part in a demonstration Photograph:( Reuters )

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Probable depression and suspected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to direct exposure to traumatic events because of the ongoing social unrest were assessed in the study.

A study conducted by The Lancet indicates that the mental health of the citizens of Hong Kong has been adversely affected by the present turmoil in the country.

Hong Kong has been reeling in clashes between the law enforcement agencies and the protestors for over seven months since June last year.

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The head injuries suffered by the civilian population from batons and rubber bullets along with the population's exposure to tear gas, toxic by-products of petrol bombs and burned tyres and irritants in water cannons have become a cause of concern for the doctors, according to the Lancet study.

It has most likely caused damage to the mental health of the people of Hong Kong, the study found.

The population-based prospective and the most extensive research was conducted on adult participants aged 18 years or older who were assessed at nine different time points from 2009.

Probable depression and suspected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to direct exposure to traumatic events because of the ongoing social unrest were assessed in the study.

Probable depression was estimated at 11 per cent of the participants in 2019, compared with 1.9 per cent from 2009 to 2014. 

This is five-times increase in comparison to the social unrest in 2017 during which it was 6.5 per cent.

Prevalence of suspected PTSD in 2019 was estimated to be 12.8 per cent and almost 32 per cent in Sept-Nov last year alone.

This is approximately six times higher in comparison to 5 per cent briefly after the "Occupy Central" movement in March 2015. 

One in out of every five Hong Kong resident surveyed last year reported probable "major depression" or "suspected PTSD" which is nearly one-third of the citizens of the country who have reported the symptoms of Post-traumatic disorder, according to the report.