Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides submits final report to SED (with photos)
Professor Yip said, "In order to understand the causes of local student suicide, the Committee analysed 71 cases of local student suicide in the last three school/academic years, studied data provided by the World Health Organization and compared our figures with those of countries including Korea, Japan, the United States and Australia and other relevant data. We had focused discussions on measures to prevent student suicide in various areas such as mental health, families, schools, media and youth/tertiary institutions. I am grateful for the active participation of all Committee members and members of the working groups over the past few months in completion of the report and formulation of various recommendations within a short period of time.
"The Committee recognised that student suicides were mostly brought about by multiple interacting factors, such as issues in mental health, family relationships, adjustment, negative thinking and lack of social support. Cases were predominantly males and often showed warning signs prior to the suicidal act. Some cases also involved mental health problems. The Hong Kong scenario was similar to that of global research findings. Nevertheless, while some studies from abroad showed that more than 90 per cent of suicide cases were associated with mental illnesses, only 20 per cent of local student suicide cases were identified as having mental health problems, indicating that some students with mental health problems had not been identified early enough and provided with appropriate support."
Professor Yip added that, as mentioned previously by the Committee in the progress report, support for students should be provided through the "Universal", "Selective" and "Indicated" levels of support and various strategies, including (1) strengthening support for schools and post-secondary students, (2) enhancing support for families, (3) strengthening the roles of traditional and social media, and (4) promoting multiple articulation pathways. The Committee has also expressed its views on resources at schools and the education system. Major recommendations by the Committee are summarised in the Appendix.
Professor Yip said he believed that the effective implementation of preventive strategies would require the leadership and ownership of relevant government bureaux/departments, different stakeholders and schools, and regular evaluation and adjustment of the relevant strategies. He said he hoped that different sectors of the community could work collaboratively to cultivate a caring culture and environment to support students' development.
After receiving the Committee's final report, Mr Ng said, "The content and recommendations of the report are very professional, demonstrating the achievements of the Committee's hard work. I very much appreciate the active participation and efforts of the members of the Committee and the working groups in the past few months for the detailed analysis of the possible causes of student suicides, the review of the current situation and existing services, and their proposal of targeted strategies on student suicide prevention.
"The recommendations in the final report are specific and student-centred, and offer comprehensive coverage, aiming to build multi-layered safety nets to address the different needs of students. The report also provides recommendations to fill the existing service gaps based on the local situation. The Education Bureau (EDB) will carefully consider the Committee's recommendations, and will keep in close contact and collaborate with relevant government bureaux/departments and stakeholders to study how to take forward the recommendations."
Mr Ng added that in the short run, the EDB would provide systematic gatekeeper training for teachers to enhance early identification and intervention for students at risk. Screening tools and resources will also be further developed to help schools identify vulnerable students, so that timely support and appropriate referral can be provided.
The full report and its executive summary have been uploaded to the EDB's webpage: www.edb.gov.hk/en/student-parents/crisis-management/about-crisis-management/index.html.
Ends/Monday, November 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:30
Issued at HKT 11:30