Online self-evaluation Tool ( Flow Tool) 心之流


Online self-evaluation Tool ( Flow Tool) 心之流 (ongoing)


This initiative is originally a response to the mental health challenge in Hong Kong as a result of a period of prolonged exposure to trauma and stress at the population level. The escalating social events and conflicts since June 2019, followed by the outbreak of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) both locally and globally, have created significant impacts on a large sector of the population. Before achieving a solution, the continuously evolving events have led to further social consequences, with intense emotional reactions in the community.

Under these circumstances, there is emerging evidence that suggests the mental health of a significant proportion of people in Hong Kong has been adversely affected. This tool has been prepared as a response, to facilitate self-awareness of mental health distress in the community.

This tool makes use of community mental health data as well as qualitative interviews and observations collected during this period, which enables identification of some risk factors, as well as protective factors, specific to the population, particularly for young people.

Ms. Stephanie MY Wong (Lead)
Prof. Eric YH Chen (Lead)
Dr. Christy LM Hui
Dr. Sherry KW Chan
Dr. Gloria HY Wong
Dr. WC Chang
Dr. Edwin HM Lee
Dr. Simon SY Lui
Dr. KT Chan
Prof. Michael TH Wong
Dr. YN Suen
Dr. Corine SM Wong

Application to the Local and Global Context
In view of the growing co-occurring population-level stress across the world, such as COVID-19 and social unrest, as well as other accompanying consequences like unemployment and economic concerns, a generic version of the Flow Tool in English has also been developed for use in other locations.

The Flow Tool

心之流 FLOW Tool (Hong Kong)
Flow Tool (International English Version)

*In order to facilitate engagement, local language adaptation has been made to the Hong Kong version. To reduce disengagement, graphics are introduced at appropriate points (so as not to prime responses). The tool consists of two parts.

Brief Assessment Section

The first part comprises a Brief assessment focusing on the 4 areas which are most closely related to depression (based on local and international mental health data), as well as a screening for symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depression is amongst the most common mental disorder in the population. Post-traumatic stress symptoms are expected to affect some individuals as a result of social conflict.

After the brief section, participants will be provided with information about their mood and PTSD symptoms. The presence of risk factors in the four areas will be used to indicate whether their mood symptoms in the near future can be expected to be at either high, moderate, or low levels had no action been taken to care for their mental health condition.

Extended Section

After the brief section, participants will be invited to take part in the second part of the tool (extended section).

The second part consists of questions that are specifically designed in view of the unique situation in Hong Kong. These questions consist of an exploration of a range of psychological reactions identified through qualitative observations, as well as further risk and protective factors for which ongoing data collection is taking place in community samples. These areas include a sense of injustice, anger, guilt, threat, insecurity, selective reception of information, social support, lifestyle, smartphone use, and resilience.

Individualized feedback is then provided to enable the participant to reflect on the areas in which they scored high. This is followed by a sample of relevant help-seeking links.

Follow-up Section

心之流 FLOW Tool Follow-up (Hong Kong)
Flow Tool Follow-up (International English Version)

Participants who completed either the Brief or the Extended Sections will have the option toof using a follow-up on their conditions in one month in to see whether their situation has improved.

Information Section

心之流 FLOW Tool Information (for participants)

Summary of useful mental health information tailor-made in response to the recent stressors and protective factors are offered within the Tool. They can be re-visited afterwards in the information section.


This self-administered Tool aims to enhance self-awareness of your experiences in the context of recent community stress. The tool aims to facilitate your reflections on these experiences. What you choose to do with the results is a matter for the individual and is not dictated by the tool.

The tool is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always follow the advice of your mental health professional. You should not disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of what you have read on the tool!

In reporting to you results of the tool we will make possible suggestions that have a basis in research done (at the University of Hong Kong). However, this University, as well as the individual researchers who have contributed to this tool, make no claim for the validity of these suggested interpretations.