The former chairman of the Advisory Committee on Mental Health, Wong Yan-lung, said on Sunday that the government should implement measures to give teachers more time to prioritise the mental health of their students amid a demanding academic schedule, as he expressed concern over the rising number of student suicides.
Speaking on a television programme, Wong said he believed the current problem was just "the tip of the iceberg" and may not improve in the near future.
To address the issue, the government recently launched a two-month initiative to help schools identify secondary students with mental health needs and refer serious cases for professional help.
Wong acknowledged the difficulty teachers face in identifying students at risk of suicide, as they tend to keep their struggles hidden.
He said it was necessary to find ways to give teachers more time to support students.
"There is a fundamental problem in Hong Kong - one test determines your fate. Students can only measure their goals in terms of academic performance," he said.
"Under a tight academic schedule, we need to think about how we can give teachers more time to look after students... It's a challenge. The government should think about how to coordinate this with its policies."
Wong also mentioned that public awareness of mental health issues has increased in recent years. However, he stressed the need for continued efforts to raise awareness throughout society.