Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim is inviting school administrators, parents, teachers as well as psychologists to an emergency meeting to discuss how to prevent more teenage suicides.
The meeting is expected to be held sometime this week, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.
The decision came after a 12-year-old student, surnamed Ng, was found by a security guard lying unconscious on the ground of residential estate Tin Chung Court in Tin Shui Wai around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, an apparent suicide, Apple Daily reported.
Police and paramedics arrived at the scene soon after receiving the guard’s call and sent the boy to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It was confirmed that he lived in a flat at Tin Chung Court with his parents.
The boy, a student from Buddhist Sum Heung Lam Memorial College, was believed to have jumped to his death from a high place. His eyeglasses and watch were found near his body.
Initial investigation revealed that the boy could have been feeling depressed after his parents were told by a teacher on Sunday about his poor performance and conduct in school.
His death followed the case of a 15-year-old student who plunged to his death in Wong Tai Sin early on Monday.
Data shows there have been 19 student suicides in the city since the school year opened in September last year. Most of the cases were found to be related to the students’ academic studies.
While Ng said he grieved over teenage suicides, some lawmakers and people in the education circle slammed his department for its inaction amid the growing number of cases.
Six lawmakers have sent a joint letter to Ng seeking a meeting with him to discuss how to provide children with more support.
Among those Ng invited to a meeting this week are representatives of the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council, Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, and the Committee on Home-School Cooperation.
Paul Yip Siu-fai, director of the Center for Suicide Research and Prevention and a professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong, said the number of teen suicides has been increasing in recent months, although the suicide rate among the youth is only half that in Australia.
While calling on the public not to panic, Yip said defects in the current education system could only “make more losers”.
He blamed some adults for aggravating the emotional stress felt by youngsters by scolding and insulting them.
EJ Insight supports efforts to help people deal with depression and related issues. Here is the 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline of The Samaritans: +852 2896 0000 (or email [email protected]
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