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Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides discusses family-related preventive measures
     The Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides (the Committee) held its fourth meeting this afternoon (July 13).

     The Committee set up five working groups in April this year to enable the discussion of strategies for preventing student suicides focusing on different areas. The working group on family, led by conveners Mr Henry Tong Sau-chai and Dr Tik Chi-yuen, held a meeting on July 4 to explore family-related preventive measures. The family working group reported its recommendations at the Committee meeting today.

     The Chairperson of the Committee, Professor Paul Yip, said, "Families play a critical role in the prevention of student suicides. Members of the Committee discussed thoroughly the recommendations of the family working group at the meeting and agreed to enhance parent education, help parents understand the importance of mental health and provide them with gatekeeper training. Related measures discussed included increasing support for families in need, helping parents learn and apply positive parenting skills, promoting multiple-pathways in career planning, and encouraging schools to share successful experience in promoting positive communication between parents and children."

     Professor Yip also reported on the Committee's work progress briefly at the meeting. He said, "All sectors of society are deeply concerned about the student suicide issue and have been enthusiastic in proposing measures to tackle it. The Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of the University of Hong Kong has partnered with social media and non-governmental organisations and, under the theme 'Connected for Life', distributed the 'Help a Friend' booklets to various stakeholders. An online suicide prevention automatic reminder feature has also been added to a social media platform, and platform users are encouraged to report possible high-risk suicidal cases."

     Currently, the Committee is compiling the recommendations submitted by the working groups. A progress report is expected to be submitted to the Secretary for Education at the end of this month. The Committee will continue to investigate the issue of student suicide from multiple perspectives and submit a full report in October.

     After the meeting, Professor Yip gave words of encouragement to this year's DSE candidates, "Tertiary education has been growing in recent years in Hong Kong. More places in universities and post-secondary education and a greater variety of courses offered have provided school leavers with more diversified pathways. Therefore, regardless of your DSE results, whether you continue your studies or enter the workforce, as long as you stay positive, communicate with your family, friends and teachers and face challenges with courage and positivity, you will reach your dreams." Professor Yip also reminded parents to provide their children with support and care, and to allow them the space to develop their interests and potential.
Ends/Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:03
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