LCQ18: Measures to prevent students from committing suicide
The Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides, which was established by the Government in March last year, published its final report in November of the same year. The final report sets out a number of recommendations on how the existing services related to the prevention of student suicides may be strengthened. It has been reported that the Government will set up an inter-bureau and inter-departmental working group coordinated by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare to review and coordinate the work of the relevant departments in following up the final report. On the other hand, the problem of student suicide has shown no signs of alleviation recently. For example, four students committed suicide on the same day of last month, and such situation has aroused concerns. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the respective numbers of students from primary schools, secondary schools and post-secondary institutions committing suicide each year from the 1997-1998 to 2016-2017 school years and their total numbers (set out in the table below);
|Primary school||Secondary school||Post-secondary institution|
(2) as it was pointed out in the final report that about 90 per cent and 80 per cent of the cases in which primary and secondary school students committed suicide involved relationship problems (e.g. family and peer relationships) and adjustment difficulties (e.g. study and family-related adjustments) respectively, of the concrete measures adopted, since the publication of the final report, respectively by various policy bureaux (including the Education Bureau, Labour and Welfare Bureau, Home Affairs Bureau and Food and Health Bureau) to help students face and tackle such problems; and
(3) of the progress and timetable of the work of the aforesaid working group, and whether the working group will regularly report to the public the progress of its work; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
The Government is very concerned about youth (including students) suicides. In collaboration with different sectors of the society, including non-governmental organisations, educational and professional bodies, and other stakeholders, the Government has launched various measures in the past few years to tackle the problem of youth suicides, including the setting up of the Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides (the Committee) in March 2016 with cross-sector participation. The Committee submitted the Final Report (the Report) to the Secretary for Education in November 2016. The Report analysed the factors of student suicides and made various recommendations on prevention of student suicides. Relevant bureaux and departments of the Government are proactively following up the recommendations.
My reply to the question is as follows:
(1) The Education Bureau (EDB) has required schools to report cases of students suspected of suicide to keep in view of the situation and provide professional support for the schools concerned as appropriate. Post-secondary institutions, in accordance with their internal procedures, would follow up and provide appropriate support to students suspected of suicide. The nature and number of the fatal suicide cases will be confirmed after the legal proceedings of the Coroner's Court. Over the years, the EDB has not captured the information from the Court. Hence, we are unable to provide officially verified figures on student suicides. The number of the above-mentioned cases of students suspected of suicide as reported by primary and secondary schools to the EDB in the past five academic years is tabulated as follows:
(2) Since the publication of the Report in November last year, the related bureaux and departments have formulated a number of practicable measures and follow-up actions according to the four key areas, including Promotion of Students' Mental Well-being and Health, Strengthening Support for Schools and Teachers, Reviewing Relevant Domains in the Education System, and Enhancement of Family Life and Parent Education. Details are listed in the Annex.
(3) The Chief Executive has asked the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) to set up a cross-bureaux/departments (B/Ds) task force (Task Force) to review, monitor and coordinate the concerted effort of B/Ds to take forward the recommendations in the Report, and to further discuss new measures on the prevention of youth suicides. Besides the LWB and EDB, the Task Force comprises representatives from the Food and Health Bureau, the Home Affairs Bureau and other related departments. The Task Force will commence its work in mid-November and expect to complete the aforementioned work by end of 2018. The Task Force will make public the progress of its work as and when appropriate.
Ends/Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:35
Issued at HKT 16:35