Recently Hong Kong has had to deal with a spate of students committing suicide which has aroused a great deal of concern within the society. The DAB Family Affairs Committee (“the Committee”) is deeply saddened and strongly concerned by these acts. Today the committee met with the Secretary for Education Mr. Eddie Ng and requested the Education bureau to strengthen efforts to prevent students facing emotional stress from committing suicide. We pressed the bureau to proactively and with all speed deal with the problem of student suicide and strengthen the relevant preventative measures.
Since the end of the Lunar New Year holiday and the start of the new school term, a total of 7 students have committed or attempted suicide, causing a great deal of worry and sadness. Last year, the government set up the “Committee on prevention of student suicides” to work on preventing student suicides. However, the effect of this committee has proven insufficient, and the final report of this committee last year expressed that many proposals from the committee have yet to be implemented, and thus was unable to solve or prevent the problem of student suicide. The Committee thereby urges the Education Bureau to perform the following:
1.Create a high-level and cross-bureau team to probe deeply into the reasons why students attempt and commit suicide. This may or may not include academic pressures, family problems, social, and peer or personal issues. Then the team should aim at these reasons and suggest a strategy to prevent students from committing or attempting suicide, and implement a multi-faceted policy based on the proposed strategy to deal with the problem at hand.
2.Strengthen methods of identifying suicidal students, and provide an immediate emergency and deep counselling service in order to help the students deal with the problems of growing up. On top of this, we should support and strengthen the love and concern hotline in order to reach high risk children and youth, stabilize their emotions and provide appropriate counseling and referral services.
3.Hire additional social worker, provide more emergency and in-depth counselling service to students in schools by psychologists and counseling professionals. Strengthen the ability of faculty to identify and support students with thoughts of suicide.
4.Strengthen the development of relevant guidelines such as early identification of students with emotional distress, involvement with students and support for their rehabilitation. This will help enhance the understanding of students and parents of students’ problems and enhance the schools’ methods of suicide prevention.
5.On top of providing the regular curriculum and extracurricular activities to all schools, we should consider teaching students more positive life values, such as treasuring their own lives. Strengthen the ability of students to face adversity and stress, help students to learn how to deal with their negative emotions in a positive manner and increase their self-confidence in regards to academics.
6.Provide more resources to broadcast positive messages of treasuring one’s life and loving oneself and one’s family through different social media channels.
We propose that when the Family Council announces a family-friendly policy, the Council should also push for family education and promote positive family values, encourage to hold more lectures on parent-child communication, providing parents with strategies to improve communication with their children and help bridge communication problems caused by the generation gap.
7.Secretary of Education Eddie Ng agreed that there are a lot of work have to be done on the societal, family and school levels. Through cooperation between families and schools and different activities, we all deeply care for the deepest physical and psychological needs of all students.
News inquiries: Member of the DAB Family Affairs Committee Vincent Cheng 6373 1979