The government on Friday launched a three-tier school-based emergency system aimed at preventing suicides among secondary school students, following a spate of recent cases.
In the first tier, all schools will be helped with identifying students with higher suicide risk or mental health needs, giving them priority for timely and appropriate intervention.
In the second, an off-campus support network is organised through cross-departmental, cross-professional and cross-sectoral cooperation, to give schools more external support.
Education officials will help schools that lack the manpower to refer cases to an off-campus support team, which is coordinated by the Social Welfare Department.
Lastly, schoolmasters can refer students with severe mental health needs to the Hospital Authority's psychiatric specialist service, and urgent cases will be given priority. The authority has also set up a hotline to give schoolmasters professional advice.
In a statement, a government spokesman said schools have been informed of the details of the mechanism and officials will co-host a seminar for parents on December 9.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health, and students faced greater adjustment challenges following the full return to normalcy.
The mechanism, collaborated by education, health and social welfare officials, will be in place until next month, and the government said it will monitor its operation closely.