Pupils suffering from anxiety often misunderstood as being lazy

September 24, 2015 15:52
Pupils who are struggling with schoolwork may be suffering from anxiety caused by excessive pressure to do well academically. Photo: HKEJ

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) said pupils are prone to anxiety during the start of a new school year, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

They need to adjust to new learning experiences and the challenges of interpersonal relationships, the group said.

A recent HKFYG study revealed that nearly 40 percent of the pupils surveyed developed negative emotions at the start of a new school year.

The respondents said they felt under pressure, anxious and worried.

Pressure to achieve academically was reported by 25.2 percent, while 12.7 percent they had varying degrees of anxiety.

The HKFYG said that while the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education public examination is still six months away, there are pupils who are already doing revision until midnight.

Some have lost their appetite and developed insomnia. Some even vomit out of anxiety ahead of tests.

It cited the case of a Primary 5 pupil who was wrongly accused by parents of being lazy and making excuses when she complained of stomach ache during dictation and tests.

She was unable to complete the dictation and tests properly, resulting in low scores.

The girl was a victim of enormous pressure from parents, who wanted her to qualify to go to a famous secondary school.

Social workers and school teachers confirmed that her stomach ache was a symptom of anxiety.

HKFYG supervisor Hsu Siu-man said pupils could be misunderstood as being lazy, lacking concentration and physically weak when they are in fact suffering from anxiety.

Parents should understand their children's feelings and offer support, while pupils should find out the source of the pressure they feel and adjust their expectations accordingly, Hsu said.

Professional help should be sought if the anxiety persists.

Hsu said university students need to pay close attention to their own psychological state, as they are much more mature and university lecturers and tutors may not be mindful of the students’ emotions, unlike teachers in primary and secondary schools.

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