Foreign domestic workers take a rest in Causeway Bay on Sunday. Photo: Asia Times

About a third of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong showed symptoms of depression within the past seven days, according to a survey compiled by Caritas Community Development Service, a non-government organization.

A total of 434 domestic workers took part in the survey over the past two years; 75% of them were Indonesian while 23% were Filipinas. The remaining one percent came from Thailand and Sri Lanka.

About 33% of the participants said they had suffered from depression with symptoms such as feeling unhappy, lonely and being unwilling to speak over the past week. Of the depressed group, 48.6% were unmarried while nearly 38% were married and the remaining 13.5% were single parents. More than 65% of the depressed maids had already worked in Hong Kong for more than four years.

The domestic workers usually face psychological pressures because of financial burdens, health or family problems and challenges in changing jobs, Caritas Community Development Service said in an article published in Kung Kao Po, a Catholic weekly paper, on Sunday.

The NGO said most foreign domestic workers need to financially support their families. Given their long working hours and heavy workloads in Hong Kong, they may easily feel depressed or guilty when problems emerge about their parents’ health, their marriage and/or their children’s behavior. Some of them may seek to commit suicide.

The NGO called for the public to look after foreign maids or domestic workers they know and to support their missions to gain enough money in Hong Kong for their families.

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