Almost a quarter of secondary school pupils have had suicidal thoughts, while 2 percent said that they would commit suicide if they had the opportunity to do so, a survey that looks into the emotional status of students shows.

In a survey jointly conducted by Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service and Hong Kong Institute of Education assistant professor Chan Siu-mui that looks into the emotional status of secondary school students, 24 percent of respondents have had suicidal thoughts in the two weeks leading up to the survey, while 2 percent of students said that if they “had the opportunity, [they] would commit suicide.”

51 percent of students who responded to the survey showed signs of mild to major depression.

Chan Siu-mui (left) at the press conference.
Chan Siu-mui (left) at a press conference announcing the survey’s findings.

The survey interviewed 9,966 secondary school students from October 2014 to April 2015. The findings were announced at a press conference, reported Apple Daily.

Girls were found to display more serious signs than boys. A higher level of depression was evident in form 4 to form 6 students.

Chan Siu-mui said that heavily depressed students often have insomnia or tend to sleep through the day, while some would eat continuously. Other signs of major depression include crying, fatigue and self-hatred, she added.

Parents should be aware of children’s moods, said Chan. If they stop doing things they like or become irritable, it may reflect a problem.

She added that parents should be sensitive after recognising problems. They should refrain from asking too many questions but try to listen and understand the children’s problems and show their support and agreement.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call The Samaritans’ 24-hour hotline on 2896 0000.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.