Your Voice: Hong Kong must prioritise student mental health; Citizenship, Economics, and Society promotes key values (short letters)

  • Rise in student suicides is deeply concerning, and addressing the issue requires help from parents, teachers and the government, one teen writes
  • Another says a new school subject can create more informed citizens and a more harmonious, inclusive society
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Student mental health is suffering, and parents, teachers and schools must step up to help them. Photo: Shutterstock

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Work to help students

Anna Wong, Pope Paul VI College

I am writing to express my deep concern about the increasing number of students who have committed suicide since September 2023 due to stress. Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach.

For parents, it is crucial to foster open communication. Creating a supportive environment at home can help children feel comfortable discussing the difficulties they are facing and their feelings. In Hong Kong, conflicts between parents and children are common and must be addressed promptly. Seeking professional help is always advised when conflicts become too serious to resolve.

Children need support and to be reassured that they can talk to their parents. Photo: Shutterstock

Teachers can create an encouraging environment at school. A positive atmosphere helps students feel safe seeking help and expressing their concerns. Teachers could review their teaching pace and offer additional academic support.

Finally, the government should review its education policies and work to alleviate academic pressure by promoting mental health awareness and organising public workshops to reduce the stigma of seeking help.

ADHD, depression most prevalent mental disorders among Hong Kong students, survey finds

Creating better citizens

Michael Wong Chun-hei, QESOSA Tong Kwok Wah Secondary School

The Citizenship, Economics, and Society (CES) subject can shape the minds of our youth and equip them with the knowledge to become responsible citizens.

Firstly, the citizenship component of CES teaches students about the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of being a citizen. It promotes civic awareness, encourages active engagement in public affairs, and fosters a sense of belonging and responsibility towards our community.

Secondly, economics is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, and CES can equip students with the knowledge to make informed decisions as consumers, workers, and future entrepreneurs. Understanding basic economic concepts will help students make sound financial decisions.

Lastly, the society component of the subject imparts a broader understanding of social issues, cultural diversity, and global interconnectedness. It encourages critical thinking, empathy, and an appreciation for different perspectives, helping students develop a well-rounded world view and become active contributors to a more inclusive, nurturing and harmonious society.

Hong Kong to replace general studies subject in primary schools with humanities curriculum that emphasises patriotic education

How to handle stress

Sophia Ling, German Swiss International School

Stress is an inevitable part of life, and it is crucial to take the time to identify the causes of stress and develop strategies to address it.

Relaxation and rejuvenation are essential. This includes regular exercise, mindfulness or meditation, leisure time in nature, or pursuing creative outlets. Taking care of your physical health through proper nutrition and sufficient sleep is also key.

There are a few things you can do to manage stress and find work-life balance. Photo: Shutterstock

It is also important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Delegate when possible, and avoid taking on more than you can handle. Establish boundaries between work and personal time to ensure dedicated periods of relaxation and leisure. Creating a structured schedule or to-do list helps people stay organised and prevents procrastination. Prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance and tackle the most challenging tasks first.

Moreover, it is essential to address the underlying reasons for procrastination. Fear of failure, perfectionism, or feeling overwhelmed can contribute to delaying tasks. Recognising and challenging these negative thought patterns is important, focusing on progress rather than perfection. Celebrating small achievements along the way helps maintain momentum and boost confidence.

Protect yourself from scams

Priscilla Leong Pui-sze, Shun Tak Fraternal Association Leung Kau Kui College

According to the Hong Kong government, there were nearly 28,000 fraud cases last year, about 70 per cent related to online scams.

As technology advances, it has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. However, it has many disadvantages. For example, internet fraud has dramatically increased in recent years.

Be careful answering calls from people you don’t know! Photo: Shutterstock

There are many ways to scam someone, from phone calls to dating apps to technology like AI. This poses challenges for people, especially students and the elderly, who may struggle to tell the difference between real and fake information. Although the government has taken action by establishing laws and requesting media platforms remove fake accounts, the number of fraudsters continues to grow, and the technology they use makes it difficult to apprehend them.

We must protect ourselves. Exercise caution when receiving unknown messages and emails, and download reliable apps that block spam calls to prevent receiving suspicious phone calls. Set up strong passwords and change them regularly to prevent your accounts from being hacked.

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