Yeoh Eng-kiong credits an intervention programme with helping more than 500 pupils identified as being at risk School counsellors have been credited by the health chief with helping save the lives of suicidal students, with none of the 500-plus pupils helped over the past three years going on to kill themselves. The government had improved measures to stem such tragedies through early intervention, Yeoh Eng-kiong responded to a question from legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee. The Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food said the Student Health Service identified 507 suicidal students. 'None of these students have completed suicide following referral and intervention,' Dr Yeoh said in a written reply. School teachers refer students with potential problems for counselling. In the past school year, 12 pupils killed themselves and 11 attempted suicide, down from the previous year, when there were 14 suicides and 14 attempts, Education and Manpower Bureau figures show. Of the cases last year, four were Form Five students and three were still in primary school. Dr Yeoh said schools had been issued a checklist of suicide risk factors, guides on the resources available for pupils and a programme to assess children's social skills. He said school-based educational psychologists covered 45 primary schools but within three years would cover 200 primary schools. In addition, steps had been taken to ensure at least one student guidance professional was available at each school to assess the need for clinical intervention. The Student Health Service also referred at-risk school children to various non-governmental bodies for help. A project called Understanding the Adolescent had been set up to detect and help Form One students at risk in their transition from primary to secondary school. A comprehensive student guidance service had been launched in primary schools, and an integrated humanities curriculum introduced in secondary schools, to foster students' personal growth and sense of self-worth. The programmes involve lectures, seminars, videos, teacher training and family education. Dr Yeoh said a working group under his bureau was providing preventive, supportive and remedial measures to identify students at risk, intervene and support them, promote public education and strengthen the training of frontline professionals. The minister said responsible media attitudes towards the reporting of suicides played a vital role in reducing the number of 'copycat' suicides among young people.