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Speed and scale up efforts in Hong Kong to prevent student suicide

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LettersHong Kong must speed and scale up efforts to prevent student suicide

Readers discuss the Education Bureau’s measures to bolster young people’s mental health, and the misguided tendency to view an ageing population as a burdenHong Kong societyLettersPublished: 11:30am, 10 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Feel strongly about these letters, or any other aspects of the news? Share your views by emailing us your Letter to the Editor at [email protected] or filling in this Google form. Submissions should not exceed 400 words, and must include your full name and address, plus a phone number for verification.The level of youth suicide in Hong Kong remains alarmingly high. From 2020 to 2022, over 70 suspected fatal student suicides were reported by schools. We continue to be shocked by periodic reports of another young person choosing to end their own life.It is encouraging to see the Education Bureau (EDB) express its concern about the level of youth suicide. The EDB paper, “Support for Students with Mental Health Needs”, submitted to the Legislative Council in July sets out all the resources, training and initiatives the EDB has developed for schools. It is a lengthy list of individual initiatives which reflect the research and recognised good practices associated with students’ mental well-being. It is a good start in the quest to reduce suicide among young people in Hong Kong.

It is not clear, however, whether these initiatives are being undertaken at the school level, how many and at which schools, leaving us uncertain about their scope and reach. There appears to be no overarching and comprehensive teaching and learning of mental health literacy and suicide prevention that is delivered consistently and embedded as a mandatory part of the primary and secondary school curriculum. It is unclear how the effectiveness or outcomes of such initiatives is assessed.

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