Date
22 July 2017
With alarm growing over a spurt in student suicides, experts are calling for more counseling and other services to Hong Kong youth. Photo: HKEJ
With alarm growing over a spurt in student suicides, experts are calling for more counseling and other services to Hong Kong youth. Photo: HKEJ

Govt to host emergency meeting as student suicides continue

Hong Kong’s Education Department will host an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the recent spate of student suicides in the city and find ways to tackle the issue.

To be chaired by Education Secretary Eddie Ng, the meeting will be joined by representatives of the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council, Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, the Committee on Home-School Cooperation, and psychologists, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

The meeting comes after 20 students committed suicide in the city since the current school year began in September 2015.

In the latest case, a 20-year-old arts student at the University of Hong Kong jumped to his death Wednesday from the rooftop of a Wong Tai Sin building where he lived with his family.

According to Apple Daily, the student, a person surnamed So, left a note at home suggesting that he was depressed due to academic and other pressures.

It was the third student suicide in Hong Kong since Monday and the fourth such case in the city in the past five days.

Lam Yat-fung, chairman of the Hong Kong Subsidized Secondary Schools Council, said he will put forward a proposal at the meeting Thursday for deployment of more psychologists to help students with potential emotional problems.

He also suggested that junior high schools should assign two teachers for each class, compared to the ratio of 1.7 currently.

In senior high schools, the teacher-class ratio should be 2.3, against the current two, so that teachers can spend more time communicating with students, he said.

According to data from the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, the number of young people calling its hotline to seek help in the first two months of this year has reached 58.

The number is almost equivalent to half of the total for 2015, pointing to a growing problem.

The Hong Kong Clinical Psychologists Association and the Hong Kong Psychological Society are now planning to send more than 20 of their experts to help students in elementary and secondary schools deal with their emotional problems.

The experts will offer counseling services pro bono.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union will host a symposium at 7 pm Friday to seek opinions on ways to help the youth overcome their emotional distress.

The symposium will be held at the union’s headquarters in Mong Kok. 

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]).

– Contact us at [email protected]

TL/AC/RC

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe