23 January 2019
Children are often affected by their mother's emotional and psychological state, according to experts. Photo: HKEJ
Children are often affected by their mother's emotional and psychological state, according to experts. Photo: HKEJ

64% of mothers in HK under stress, survey finds

A recent survey has found that over 64 percent of mothers feel stressed due to their responsibilities at home, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The online survey was conducted in March by the Hong Kong Council of Early Childhood Education and Services.

More than 300 mothers with children under 12 years old were interviewed about mental health and stress.

Over half of the respondents said their biggest source of stress comes from taking care of their children.

The survey used 12 questions to chart the respondents’ mental health with 36 marks representing the highest level of stress.

Over 32.5 percent of the interviewees had stress levels above 14 marks, which means they should seek professional help or counselling.

Among the 64 percent of mothers who admitted feeling mental stress, about half felt depressed or unhappy with sleeping problems, while over 40 percent claimed to have lost their self-confidence, Sing Tao Daily reported.

Clinical psychiatrist Dr. Charlotte Tang said symptoms of mental stress include depression, fatigue, muscle tightness, weight loss, insomnia, and even having suicidal thoughts.

She said mothers face extreme stress when trying to balance family, children and work relations. They could also feel guilty or anxious when their children’s work is not up to par.

Long-term stress makes it easier to become depressed or have anxiety disorder, Tang said.

Mothers aged 35 to 45 face greater risks of developing mental illness than those in other age groups, she said.

From Tang’s experience, over half of these mothers seek medical attention for their children, who appear to be misbehaving or facing emotional issues.

However, doctors often find out that these emotional issues could be traced back to their mothers.

In other words, children are affected by their mother’s mental status, Tang said.

She cited the case of a 40-year-old mother who struggles to balance her responsibilities for her two children and the demands of her management job.

Tang suggested that mothers should always find time for themselves or to go on dates with their husbands.

They can also try to widen their social circles and meet mothers with the same problems so they can support each other.

If necessary, they should not hesitate to seek professional help, she added.

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