More than one-third of mentally-disturbed young people are trapped in a cycle of idling at home, with nearly a quarter of these suffering from internet addiction, researchers claim.
A study of more than 750 youngsters revealed that 34.7 per cent had no education, job or well-established social network, which led them to stay at home and withdraw from society.
The research, conducted by Caritas Hong Kong, the Mental Health Association and Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service last week, studied people aged between 15 and 29 who had sought help from their organisations for mental or emotional problems in the past two years.
Stephen Wong Man-shun, social work supervisor of international aid agency Caritas, said some 24 per cent of these home-idlers had an internet addiction, including an overindulgence in computer games.
However, other home-idlers, simply chose to do nothing.
Wong said the findings were a wake-up call to create support services for jobseekers who had just left school, and those who were not engaged in education or employment.
"Early intervention by parents in their children's mental or emotional problems is important. The longer the problems linger, the easier it is for their children to withdraw from society," Wong added.