Date
12 December 2017
Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service released a study on depression among schoolchildren on Sunday.  Clinical psychologist Lee Ming-lam (center) said pupils who lack psychological resilience are most likely to fall into depression. Photo: BOKSS
Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service released a study on depression among schoolchildren on Sunday. Clinical psychologist Lee Ming-lam (center) said pupils who lack psychological resilience are most likely to fall into depression. Photo: BOKSS

Too much homework blamed for depression among schoolkids: survey

Many primary school students in Hong Kong suffer from depression as they try to cope with enormous pressure from schoolwork, a survey finds.

The finding was based on the answers to questionnaires sent out by the Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, a non-governmental organization, to pupils in 14 schools in the first three months of the year.

About 13.2 percent of the 1,301 respondents aged 9 to 13, or about one in seven, showed signs and symptoms of depression, with 9.7 percent even reaching “serious” levels, hk01.com reports, citing the results of the survey.

That suggests that more than 33,000 of the city’s 349,000 primary school pupils require clinical attention, the NGO said.

As many as 21.7 percent of the respondents said they often felt stressed, a three-year high.

The top three sources of stress cited by the pupils were too much homework (24.8 percent), choice of and adaptation to a secondary school (20.5 percent) and poorer than expected academic results (20.2 percent), all of which are related to their academic studies, according to the survey.

In its analysis of the survey results, the social service group said pupils who lack psychological resilience are most likely to fall into depression.

With this factor, there is as much as 43.1 percent chance that a student would feel depressed, the group said, meaning the less capable students are of dealing with pressure, the more serious is their degree of depression.

Such students generally show signs of low spirits and a sense of inferiority, but they tend to avoid facing their emotions or suppress them, the NGO said.

Lee Ming-lam, a clinical psychologist at the organization, said some parents tell their children to control themselves when they are troubled emotionally, but she said that would only further weaken their psychological resilience over time.

She urged parents to interact with their children more often and allow them to enjoy more space and time to have fun.

This would improve the parents’ bonding with their children and help them to dispel their pent-up emotions.

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