A Form One student jumped to his death on Wednesday, the third suicide since the new school term commenced three weeks ago, giving cause for concern about student stress levels.

The 13-year-old boy, whom police said had been unhappy at school, jumped from a window at his Hung Hom residence. He had been a prefect and a member of the basketball team in primary school. He was said to have been facing problems adapting to a new school life and regularly argued with his parents.

Another Form One student jumped off a building in Kwun Tong on September 10, while a Chinese University student killed himself after leaving three suicide notes at his Tsz Wan Shan home on September 7. Over the past ten years, more than 110 students have committed suicide, Apple Daily reported.

student suicide
The boy who jumped to his death on Wednesday.

A study conducted last month by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) interviewed around 4,000 primary and secondary school students. The results showed that 25 percent of students have extremely high levels of stress while 40 percent feel anxious about the new school year. Most of them worry about exams, having too much homework, or that the syllabus will be too difficult. Around 30 percent said that “they think they’re about to go crazy.”

Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

The HKFYG hotline received 17,000 requests for help last school year, 7,000 of which were related to schoolwork pressure. Some of those who called were as young as 6-years-old.

HKFYG supervisor, Hsu Siu-man, told Hong Kong Economic Times that the commencement of the school term puts a lot of pressure on students. She also said that the mid-term assessments at the end of October are another period of high stress and parents should chat with their children more regularly.

“If parents notice that their children are showing signs of having sleep problems, suffering from a poor appetite and appearing distracted, they should seek help immediately,” she said.

Hui, a director of social work at HKFYG, told Sing Tao Daily that many Form One students have problems adapting to the new environment, and many of them work late into the evenings due to poor time management. She said that social workers will be following up on students in the schools where they conducted the polls.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call the Samaritans, a 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline, at 2896 0000.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.