One in three high school students in Hong Kong has thought of killing or harming themselves over the past six months, a survey showed.
The poll results, which came in the wake a recent spate of suicides involving youngsters, showed that many students are facing serious emotional problems that need to be urgently addressed by parents, teachers and others involved in their welfare, Apple Daily reports.
According to the survey jointly conducted by the Hong Kong Paediatric Society and the Hong Kong Paediatric Foundation, 62 percent of the respondents said they had felt sad or cried for no reason in the past six months, and 27 percent admitted having entertained the thought of killing or harming themselves during the period.
The survey interviewed 1,685 secondary school students from March to early April through questionnaires.
It found that 8 percent of the respondents had encountered cyber bullying over the past 12 months, and one in four had experienced depression.
Dr. Lilian Wong Hiu-lei, president of the Paediatric Society, said it is a serious issue that one out of every three youngsters had considered suicide.
She urged parents to take time every day to show they care for their children.
The two institutions also urged the government to set up a committee to look into the issues faced by young people.
In the same survey, 35 percent of the respondents said they tend to deal with health and emotional issues by looking for helpful information online, such as how to lose weight, look prettier or ease emotional problems.
The problem with this is that the youngsters might be misled by wrong information, the two associations said.
They urged the government to promote health literacy among students and the public in general, especially on how to obtain and understand basic medical information.
The Education Bureau has set up a committee on the prevention of student suicides, which has been given six months to come up with recommendations.
But Chan Chok-wan, chairman of the Paediatric Foundation, said any measure will be useless if it only deals with the symptoms rather than the root causes of the issue, Ming Pao Daily reports.
– Contact us at [email protected]