Scope - About JC JoyAge Project

Project intro

According to a study, about 10% of the elderly population in Hong Kong have depressive symptoms. Factors such as stress, health problems and a lack of social engagement usually contribute to the vulnerability of older people and cause higher risks of elderly depression or other major illness. In response to this concern, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust approved over HK$366 million to initiate the “JC JoyAge: Jockey Club Holistic Support Project for Elderly Mental Wellness” (JC JoyAge). Launched in 2016, the project aims to tackle the problem of elderly depression, enhance capacity of professional and non-professional manpower as well as raising public awareness of elderly mental health.

Through cross-sectoral collaboration, JC JoyAge provides a community-based supporting network for our senior citizens to enhance their resilience in facing the challenges of ageing. The service model bridges the District Elderly Community Centre (“DECC”) and Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (“ICCMW”) to establish a collaborative and integrated service model, which renders standardised prevention and timely intervention services for the elderly at-risk of or with depressive symptoms, according to their risk level and severity of symptoms, etc.

Project partners include The University of Hong Kong and 14 local NGOs operating DECC and/or ICCMW across the territory. The project will be implemented to 18 districts in two phases. It is anticipated that a viable service model will be developed to provide holistic support for vulnerable and depressed elderly.

Project objectives

JC JoyAge is a territory-wide project and will be implemented to 18 districts in two phases. The project aims to enhance the community capacity in older adults mental support, promote effective coordination among district elderly services and community mental health services, improve service access and coverage for older adults in need, and exert positive influence on families and the neighbourhood to improve mental health literacy.

The project will benefit and bring impact on different sectors of the community:
Depressed and at-risk elderly participants
  • To reduce risk or severity of depression and improve mental wellness
  • To enhance resilience towards adverse life events and to reduce social isolation and other modifiable risk factors
  • To engage vulnerable and at-risk older adults in the community through productive ageing activities and mental wellbeing self-management training
Family members and community stakeholders
  • To raise public awareness and elderly mental health literacy among family members, neighbours, community stakeholders and the general public
  • To enhance social support and cohesiveness in the neighbourhood
NGOs/Service units
  • To improve the competence and confidence of social service staff in handling elderly depression, and continue to develop the standardised and systematic training curriculum on elderly mental wellness for the social welfare sector

Stepped-care Model

JC JoyAge promotes a collaborative stepped-care model for tackling elderly depression, based on the principles of prevention and early intervention. Trained social workers and Peer Supporters from the District Elderly Community Centre (DECC) and the Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (ICCMW) provide interventions according to the older adults’ needs. Individuals are assessed and triaged following the standardised intervention protocol and clinical guidelines of the stepped-care model, and provided with choices of service according to their risk level, depressive symptom severity and intervention response.

Individuals who are at-risk of depression are encouraged to join the Ambassador training in order to improve their mental health literacy. For individuals with mild depression, DECC will provide psychoeducation group (e.g. sleep and pain management) or low intensity psychotherapy group as intervention. For those with moderate depression, high intensity psychotherapy group will be provided by DECC or ICCMW. Individuals with moderate to moderately severe depression will be provided with intensive individual sessions at ICCMW. Referral to specialised medical services will be made where necessary. For individuals who are at the level of mild depression or above, Peer Supporters will be matched and accompany them on the voyage to mental wellness, with regular follow-ups throughout the intervention period.

Stepped-Care Model – Specialization Mode
Through the collaborative stepped-care model, the project is expected:
  1. To reduce the risk or severity level of elderly depression, enhance older adults’ resilience towards negative life events, reduce social isolation and other modifiable risk factors of depression, and ultimately improve their mental wellbeing and quality of life;
  2. To build up the capacity of elderly service units in promoting preventive care for elderly mental wellness, and to support mental wellness service units to meet the increasing needs from older population;
  3. To establish clinical protocol and guidelines for future adoption, in order to improve care coordination and care quality, bringing long-term benefits to the social welfare sector.

Ambassador Overview

JC JoyAge aimed to train 5,000 Ambassadors from 2020 to 2023, as a new psychiatric emergency force in the community. Individuals aged 50 or above, at risk of depression, and are showing prodromal-to-mild depressive symptoms in the JC JoyAge model, are eligible to be trained as JC JoyAge Ambassadors.

Ambassador Training

JC JoyAge provides a community-based Ambassadors Training to older adults who are vulnerable or at-risk of depression, to enhance their resilience in facing the challenges of ageing. The training aims to equip older adults with proper attitude, knowledge and skills to:
  1. Reach out to, engage and support fellow older adults with depression;
  2. Promote elderly mental wellness in their communities;
  3. Promote their own mental wellness and prevent depression.

Training Content

The Ambassadors Training is a formal training course with certificate provided by the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong and the project’s NGO partners, consisting:
  • 12-hour certificate course in Mental Health First Aid (Older Person)
  • 3-hour training on introduction to JC JoyAge
Upon completion of required training, the Ambassadors will provide 36 hours of voluntary services (e.g. street booth helper, community event helper, etc.) to their centres within a year. They will also learn to be an “e-buddy” and teach fellow older adults how to use electronic devices to elevate their information technology skills, allowing older adults to connect to the society through technology and laying the foundation for technology-enhanced interventions. Some of the qualified Ambassadors will also be recruited to receive further training to become a Peer Supporter.


After the training, the Ambassadors will:
  1. Increase the competence and confidence in reaching out to older adults at-risk of depression in the community;
  2. Engage their fellow at-risk older adults and increase their resilience in facing adverse life event.  Through productive ageing and meaningful engagement, Ambassadors will also enhance self-efficacy, and improve their sense of purpose and quality of life;
  3. Further increase the NGOs/service units’ capacity to promote elderly mental wellness;
  4. Exert positive influence on their own family and social network in the neighbourhood with their improved mental health literacy and;
  5. Be eligible to apply for further training and become Peer Supporter (interview is required).

Peer Supporters Training

People with similar life experiences are often the best people to offer support. Through sharing life experiences and personal resources on mental wellness, they can support older adults who are at-risk of or with depressive symptoms. JC JoyAge provides further training to certified Ambassadors to strengthen their skills in rendering peer support, and to increase their knowledge on mental wellness and recovery. Upon completion of the training and practicum, they may be hired by the project’s NGO partners as Peer Supporters. They will then apply what they have learnt to assist the older adults who are at-risk of or with depressive symptoms, establish a bond with them, inspire and bring hope for recovery to their lives, and grow with them in the voyage to mental wellness.
Topics include:
Basic Level Advanced Level
20-hour classroom learning
  • Productive ageing
  • Concepts and core values of peer support and recovery; role and ethics
  • Basic skills in communication and rapport building
  • Behavioural activation
  • Story-telling: my personal experience
  • Community resources cum community walk
    24-hour classroom learning
    • Peer support in action: home visit and group support
    • Facilitation skills for individual planning and goal attainment
    • Wellness Recovery Action Plan - Basic course
    • Responding to challenging situations: Risk of suicide
    • Life and death; grieving and bereavement
    6-hour practicum: in the form of case/group/programme
    • Listening and communication skills (e.g. warm calls)
    • Concepts and core values of peer support and recovery; role and ethics
    • Story-telling: my personal experience
    • Linking community resources
      30-hour practicum: in the form of case/group/programme
      • Individual support (e.g. home visit, and facilitate older adults in planning and attaining recovery goals
      • Group support
      • Construct and practice personalized Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®)

        Wellness Recovery Action Plan®

        “Wellness Recovery Action Plan®”, or WRAP®, is an evidence-based self-help programme developed by people who have experienced mental or emotional distress. It aims to enhance individuals’ awareness and abilities to maintain physical and mental wellness. Participants in WRAP® programme will develop their own “Wellness Toolbox” to maintain personal wellness. Through preparation of different action plans, individuals will be able to find the tools to soothe their emotions and stay as healthy as possible in times of adverse life changes.


        Upon completion of the Peer Supporters Training course, Peer Supporters will have the competence to collaborate with the project’s social workers and staff to:
        1. Outreach, engage and support their fellow older adults who are at-risk of or with depressive symptoms;
        2. Share personal experience, resources and skills relevant to recovery
        3. Assist older adults to connect back to different community resources
        4. Facilitate older adults in establishing physical and mental wellness, as well as attaining recovery goals
        5. Support older adults in taking part in group activities and social events, in order to build resilience
        6. Exert positive influence and promote awareness on the importance of mental wellness to their own family and in the neighbourhood; and
        7. Be eligible to apply for further training and become WRAP® Facilitators (interview is required).

        Post-Peer Supporters Training

        Post-Peer Supporters Training

        Trained Peer Supporters who practice WRAP® in their daily life will be eligible to apply for further training and become a WRAP® Facilitator. All applicants will be invited for an interview and then shortlisted to attend the 35-hour certified WRAP® Facilitator Training Course. Upon successful completion in both training and practicum, WRAP® Facilitators can then pair-up and co-facilitate WRAP® workshops or groups to enhance individuals’ awareness and abilities to maintain physical and mental wellness.