Callers' tears, desperation

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 August, 1999, 12:00am

At least five depressed parents and 15 students, one suicidal, sought counselling services from Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong yesterday while thousands more jammed the hotlines of volunteer groups.

There were seven hotlines provided for students and parents for counselling and information on school places and five Internet counselling lines.

Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong spokeswoman Suen Ka-yin said that by 9pm, 20 calls had been made to the group. Another five depressed callers had phoned on Monday.

Among the 15 callers yesterday, five were depressed parents and the remaining current HKCEE students.

One student was classified high-risk after she detailed plans for her suicide.

'The student cried on the phone and our operator spent more than one hour talking her out of it,' Miss Suen said.

Another key voluntary group, the Hok Yau Club, received 3,530 inquiries between midnight on Monday and 9pm last night, compared with 2,250 calls for the same period last year.

Spokeswoman Hsu Nga-ying said 90 per cent of callers were emotionally stable.

The remaining 10 per cent were unhappy about their results or emotionally confused.

'A few callers lost their temper apparently because they were upset by their results and about their future,' Miss Hsu said.

But the majority asked for information on school places.

The hotline - 2503-3399 - will be run overnight until tomorrow.