Date
19 January 2017
About half of the secondary school students in Hong Kong showed signs of depression, according to a survey. Photo: HKEJ
About half of the secondary school students in Hong Kong showed signs of depression, according to a survey. Photo: HKEJ

Depression rates among secondary school pupils alarming: study

As a new school year begins tomorrow, a study has warned about high levels of depression among secondary students in Hong Kong.

According to a survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIE) and the Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, 51 percent of secondary school students showed signs of depression.

Signs of depression included crying, change of appetite, long-term insomnia and fatigue, they said.

For the survey, researchers interviewed more than 10,000 secondary students from 22 schools. Questionnaires were sent between October last year and April this year, Singtao Daily reported. 

The responses showed that 30 percent of the students have high anxiety and that 24 percent had even considered suicide.

One out of ten students suffer both depression and high anxiety at the same time. Girl students are found more inclined to depression and anxiety than their male counterparts.

Students cited school work, concern over future and interpersonal relationships as the factors mostly causing anxiety. 

Chan Siu-mui, an assistant professor at HKIE’s Department of Psychological Studies, said Secondary Three and Secondary Five students tend to show clearer signs of depression and anxiety because they face more pressure from course selection and diploma exams.

He urged parents to talk and listen to their children more to learn about their feelings.

Kwok Wai-wai, a psychologist, suggested that parents should care more about children’s other talents besides their grades in order to enhance the kids’ sense of achievement.

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TL/AC/RC

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