The Education Bureau (EDB) has called upon schools and parents to pay better attention to students’ mental health. In a four-page letter posted on its website last Friday, the bureau advised schools and parents to keep a close eye on students’ emotions and behaviour ahead of the upcoming stressful exam period.
“If teachers notice students’ unusual behaviour, like having a sudden and drastic change in emotions, being upset and unmotivated all day long, or if their academic results fall, they should let social workers or counselling staff know so they can offer help at once,” the letter said.
A student at South Island School, who preferred not to be named, told Young Post the school conducted a survey to assess students’ mental health twice a year, but he did not think it was very effective.
“[This is] because everyone tends not to answer truthfully because they’re all just quickly [ticking off] all the boxes,” in the compulsory survey, he said.
He added that all schools need to take a step back and have a look at what actually can be done.
“They could try to incorporate [mental health care] in the curriculum and put it in lessons but, again, I am not sure if [the students] would care.”
Another student, Nemo Yu Hau-chak, 14, from Carmel Secondary School, felt his teachers were doing enough to take care of students’ mental health.
“Our school discusses mental health in a lot of our assemblies. Also, from time to time, our teacher talks to us individually regarding our mental development and our studies,” he said.
As for parents, the letter suggests they listen to what their children have to say. Also, parents should not be afraid to talk to their children about their mental health.
Kelly Yau Pui-yan, 18, a student from St Rose of Lima’s College who just finished the HKDSE, told Young Post her parents cared about her feelings.
“I think my parents always notice whether or not I’m happy … When I was stressed about the DSE, my mum could tell. We would then go for a walk so I could stay away from my desk for a while.”