Suicide preventions experts, led by University of Hong Kong researchers, say a sharp increase in the number of youth suicides underlines the need for more government resources for mental health.
HKU's Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention said it recorded 22 cases of school or university students taking their own lives or attempting to do so in the past three months – double the number in the August to October period last year.
The university said its online youth emotional support platform found that study-related pressure and family relationships were significant causes of distress.
The centre's director, Professor Paul Yip, said lingering effects of the Covid pandemic could also be one of the reasons for the increase in suicides.
“After the resumption of classes, I think the students do take a lot of time to adjust to the new normals. And then when they get back to school, sometimes I think there’s not enough room and space for them to try to re-adapt to the new environment,” he said.
Yip said schools and organisations have been giving support to students, but the government can also devote more resources to help them.
“I think the government can provide more support to schools, especially to the teachers, so that they can have the room and space and time to look after our young people,” he said.
“I would like to remind our young people that seeking help is a sign of strength, it is not a sign of weakness. When you’re reaching out, the help is here.”