Closing ceremony of Peer Power Student Gatekeeper Training Programme for 2021/22 school year (with photos)
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     ‚ÄčThe Secretary for Education, Dr Choi Yuk-lin, officiated at the closing ceremony of the Peer Power Student Gatekeeper Training Programme today (July 26). She commended the Peer Leaders for their efforts in completing the training, promoting students' mental health in the past year and thus playing the role of peer "gatekeepers".

     Speaking at the ceremomy, Dr Choi said that school is the second home of students. School authorities have the responsibility to establishing a strong safety net for students, identifying students with distress and mental health problems at an early stage, so as to encourage them to seek help, and safeguard them to prosper healthily. She also encouraged students to embrace challenges at different developmental stages, learn how to manage their emotions, and cultivate a good attitude towards life so as to strengthen their resilience.

     Since the 2019/20 school year, the Education Bureau (EDB) has commissioned non-governmental organisations to organise the "gatekeeper" training under the Peer Power Student Gatekeeper Training Programme. Secondary school students have been trained to become Peer Leaders by boosting their knowledge of mental health and skills in managing stress and emotions. The programme also equips them to identify and deal with peers with mental health needs, and promotes cultures of facing adversity positively and help-seeking in schools. As of the 2021/22 school year, more than 500 students from 26 secondary schools have been assigned as Peer Leaders.

     This year, a total of 450 students completed the training of the Peer Power Student Gatekeeper Training Programme. The EDB has commissioned the Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service to organise a series of training activities to enrich students' knowledge of the means to maintain mental well-being, common mental illnesses, signs of self-harm and suicidal behaviours, and practical skills in caring for peers.
      
     Upon completion of the training, they have applied what they learned by organising diversified activities to promote their schoolmates' mental health. These activities include the setting up of interactive display boards with mental health information, helping them understand their "stress index" through questionnaires, enlightening them with inspirational quotes, producing short videos to demonstrate skills of caring for peers, organising art activities to relieve stress, and leading all teachers and schoolmates to dance for health, etc. Some Peer Leaders even set up special pages on social media platforms to share mental health information with their schoolmates amidst the epidemic.

     During the closing ceremony, Dr Choi affirmed the role and contribution of the Peer Leaders, and showed appreciation of their self-initiated creative activities that help to promote students' mental health in schools, foster mutual support among peers, and establish a school culture of help-seeking.

     She encouraged students to not just be limited to acquiring knowledge from books. They should aspire to be a young person with "aspiration, enthusiasm and capability". Aspiration means to set a clear goal in life and foster love for one's country and family. Enthusiasm means to have passion and enthusiasm for life, love oneself and others, and care for oneself and the people around. Capability means to equip oneself with corresponding abilities to put the aforementioned into practice.

     Peer Leaders who participated in the programme also shared their learning experiences and insights at the ceremony. Moreover, there was an exhibition area for displaying schools' mental health promotion activities, demonstrating the learning outcomes of the Peer Leaders.

     Apart from the Peer Power Student Gatekeeper Training Programme, the EDB continues to provide "gatekeeper" training for teachers, parents and students. These activities include a 60-hour thematic course for teachers, online workshops on parent gatekeeper training, as well as expanding the Peer Power Student Gatekeeper Training Programme.

     The EDB will continuously deliver diversified information to schools, students and parents through the student mental health information website, namely Mental Health@School (mentalhealth.edb.gov.hk), with an aim to raise the awareness and understanding of students' mental health in the education sector and the public.

Ends/Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:04

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