Stress about education, family, romance and money is pushing more full-time students in Hong Kong to take their own lives

Suicides have increased by more than 50 per cent

Nicola ChanJoanne Ma |

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Paul Yip (left) and Asha Cuthbert at yesterday’s press conference.

Suicides involving full-time students in Hong Kong have increased by more than 50 per cent, from 19 cases in 2012 to 29 cases in 2016, a study has revealed.

Its findings were released at a press conference at the University of Hong Kong yesterday, which was also World Suicide Prevention Day.

The study was conducted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the university.

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Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, director of the centre, said the suicide rate among both males and females aged between 15 and 24 had increased from 8.3 in 2012 to 9.5 in 2016. The rates are calculated per 100,000 people. Taking the figure for 2016 as

an example, 9.5 per 100,000 people aged 15 to 24 committed suicide in Hong Kong.

Yip pointed out that Form Five and Form Six students faced more mental health problems than others among the group. “The lack of routes into further education contributed to a strong feeling of failure for some students,” he said.

He suggested that students should be provided with more higher education opportunities.

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To promote a more positive learning environment, changes in the current education system and students-to-teachers ratio were needed, he added.

According to the study, the full-time students who took their own lives faced problems mainly relating to family, romance, study, and money.

Asha Cuthbert, a local YouTuber who has worked with the centre to create videos on suicide prevention, said that young people should talk to other people about their problems, and try to find ways to express their emotions.

If your friends are seeking emotional help, she added, you should listen to them, and try to avoid making negative comments that might make them feel worse about themselves.

Edited by MJ Premaratne