Community & Education Hong Kong

17th student suicide this academic year as Teachers’ Alliance urges action on student mental health

The Progressive Teachers’ Alliance (PTA) called for students’ mental health problems to be properly addressed on Monday, after two cases of student suicide were reported this week.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, a 12-year-old student took his own life, making it three cases in four days.

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A 12-year-old boy reportedly took his own life in Tin Shui Wai. Photo: Wikicommons.

“The societal environment in recent years, which values ‘winning at the starting line’ and competition, makes students and teachers suffer from different sorts of pressure,” said the PTA in a statement on their Facebook page.

“Of more concern, the excessive focus on academic performance reduced teaching times in schools, in turn sacrificing students’ developmental needs.”

The PTA was critical of the Education Bureau for failing to address students’ mental health problems and lacking the manpower to support students to prevent suicide attempts.

“We suggest the Education Bureau sets up a working group to completely review the system, resource allocation and existing counselling services… [to allow] students to find help as soon as possible,” it said.

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Secretary for Education Eddie Ng. File Photo: Stand News.

On Sunday, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim did not address whether the bureau would increase provision of mental support services but said that universities could sort the issues out independently, HKET reports.

A medicine student from Chinese University and a Form Four student took their lives on Saturday and Monday respectively, according to local media. The case of the 12-year-old student on Tuesday added to the tally of student suicides, with 17 reporting since the start of the academic year in September, according to Ming Pao.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call the Samaritans, a 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline, on 2896 0000.

17th student suicide this academic year as Teachers' Alliance urges action on student mental health