More than 80 per cent of psychiatrists enjoy the relationship with their patients, with many saying that they often are inspired by their patients’ experience, according to a survey by the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists.

The HKCP interviewed 339 practicing and training psychiatrists last week after lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan made some comments which were deemed insulting to the mentally ill and the doctors who treat them.

Lawmaker Ann Chiang. Photo: HKFP.

In a Legislative Council debate, Chiang said pro-government lawmakers were driven insane by their filibustering colleagues just like “psychiatrists would become crazy for listening to their patients too much.”

Chiang came under fire after the incident was widely reported in the media. The HKCP issued a statement saying Chiang’s comments were “untrue, derogatory and discriminatory.”

The school’s vice president Chan Kwok-ling said the survey has shown Chiang to be wrong in assuming that treating the mentally troubled brings stress to doctors, reported Ming Pao. Chan criticised Chiang for “vilifying” the relationship between psychiatrists and their patients.

The survey also found that over 70 per cent of psychiatrists often feel “frustrated” about the negative way mental patients are portrayed in the media. Meanwhile, over 80 percent said they feel Hong Kong does not put enough resources into ensuring people’s mental well-being.

According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the number of psychiatrists in Hong Kong is about a third of those in other developed economies, reported the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.