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Government to tackle student mental health

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In light of the increasing number of student suicides in Hong Kong, Secretary for Educations Eddie Ng stated that the government will be working with concerned parties to enhance schools’ awareness of student mental health, as well as identify students in need.

According to Hong Kong’s Information Services Department, the Education Bureau had recently issued a letter encouraging schools to promote life education on March 15. It met with representatives of various educational and professional organisations on March 10 to discuss recent student suicide incidents, Mr Ng told lawmakers.

Schools are encouraged to conduct sessions on stress-coping strategies, and positive values and attitudes, as well as to provide information on how to seek assistance, particularly for Primary Five, Primary Six, and secondary school students. They have been provided with associated teaching materials for reference.

A committee to study the student suicide epidemic and determine preventive measures is in the works. Mr Ng added that the Education Bureau is drawing plans for seminars on suicide prevention and intervention for schools and parents.

Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department recently produced a public interest announcement, encouraging positive thinking and attitudes when faced with difficulties, as well as to seek family, friends, and professionals for help when needed.

Three more incidents took place over the last weekend, including one involving an 11-year-old, raising the number of student deaths since the beginning of the 2015-16 school year to 23.

If you are depressed or having suicidal thoughts, seek immediate help — call Samaritans’ 24-hour hotline at 2896 000.

Photo by Hipotungwans (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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