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Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides submits progress report to EDB (with photo)
     The Chairperson of the Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides, Professor Paul Yip, today (July 22) submitted a progress report with preliminary recommendations to the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim.
     Professor Yip expressed appreciation for the active participation of all Committee members and members of the working groups. He said, "The recommendations by the members and working groups are practicable. The progress report shows the results of the Committee's work in the past few months. It describes the preliminary study results of the local student suicide cases over the past three years. The data currently available shows that 20 per cent of the cases had received psychiatric services while about 80 per cent involved learning and family-related adjustment problems. Over 80 per cent involved relationship issues with peers and/or parents, whereas about 60 per cent of cases had emotional problems, including having a negative life attitude or having suicidal thoughts."
     He added, "Eleven suggestions on aspects of students' mental health and schools have been made in the report with a view to enhancing timely and appropriate care and support for at-risk students. The Committee welcomes the Food and Health Bureau to launch a pilot scheme in collaboration with the Education Bureau (EDB), the Hospital Authority and the Social Welfare Department to set up a multi-disciplinary platform involving medical, education and social services, beginning in the 2016/17 school year. The pilot scheme, which aims at improving the interface among medical, education and social services, will enhance care and support for students with mental health needs."
     Upon receiving the progress report submitted by the Committee, Mr Ng said, "I greatly appreciate the Committee and all members of the working groups for their hard work in analysing the causes of student suicides and suggesting appropriate measures to prevent student suicides. According to my understanding, after gathering information from various sources, the Committee found that there were complicated underlying causes for each student suicide case, and that the triggering factors were all different. Among them, over 90 per cent were caused by interaction of multiple complicated factors."
     Mr Ng added, The EDB accepts the recommendations of the Committee. In the 2016/17 school year, the Joyful@School Campaign will be launched in all secondary and primary schools through a series of activities to promote students' mental well-being, cultivate a caring culture within schools, enhance students' understanding of mental health, raise students' awareness about the need to seek help, and reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. Schools can also obtain additional funding through the Quality Education Fund's mini-application (for grants sought not exceeding $150,000), which has a simplified application procedure. My EDB colleagues and I will make detailed implementation plans for the various immediate measures. As for the medium and long-term enhancement measures mentioned in the report, such as increasing resources for schools to support at-risk students, we will also consider them in detail. I expect to receive the full report from the Committee in October."
     The 11 recommendations proposed in the Committee's progress report are listed in the Appendix. Members of the public can view the progress report on the EDB website: www.edb.gov.hk/en/student-parents/crisis-management/about-crisis-management/index.html.
Ends/Friday, July 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 13:05
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The Chairperson of the Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides, Professor Paul Yip (right), today (July 22) submits a progress report with preliminary recommendations to the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim (left).