Hong Kong students are depressed: parents and teachers must try to understand why

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 5:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 10:20pm

Two studies have shown that public concerns about depression and suicides among students at local schools are justified (“Half of 3,441 Hong Kong students polled show signs of depression”, September 27).

One of the studies surveyed 3,441 secondary school pupils and tertiary students in Hong Kong, and found half of them showed signs of depression. Also, 40 per cent complained about stress in the new school term.

These surveys highlight the fact that students suffer from depression because of this prevalent issue of stress.

This is clearly a cause for concern, because some youngsters have felt under so much pressure that they have taken their own lives. While it is right for citizens to be worried about this trend, we have to ascertain what the contributing factors are for such high rates of depression among the younger generation.

Many of these young people are not sufficiently prepared for the challenges they will face in a new school year. They might struggle to do well academically and if they are not given the help they need, then it is relatively easy for them to become depressed.

The pressure they feel is often exacerbated by their workload. If the teacher always hands out a lot of assignments, students will have to do a substantial amount of homework in the evenings and at weekends.

It is understandable that they will then feel pressure and be depressed, facing hours of homework after an already long school day. And things can be worse for them if their parents have unrealistic expectations of what they can achieve, and they are unable to get the marks that are expected of them.

All stakeholders must recognise that there is a problem with the local education system.

Parents, teachers and students need to look at the main reasons behind so many youngsters suffering psychological problems, and think about the best way to deal with these issues so that young people can be happier in their school lives.

Jessie Leung Cheuk-yau, Kowloon Tong