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Hong Kong to Tackle Students' Suicide

Tackling the student suicide problem requires the concerted efforts of the government and the community, an official said in Hong Kong Wednesday.

Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong told the Legislative Council that under a working group chaired by the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, a multi-pronged strategy through a multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral approach has been adopted.

The strategy includes enhancing the understanding of the problem, providing a range of preventive, supportive and remedial measures to facilitate early identification, timely intervention and effective support, promoting public education and publicity, and strengthening the training of frontline professionals and workers.

Yeoh noted that for early identification of suicide risks, tools are available to all local schools to raise teachers' alertness to students who may be at risk of emotional disturbance and suicidal ideation. The Child Psychiatric Teams of the Hospital Authority also provide training for school teachers and social workers on detecting and assessing children with suicide risks.

Moreover, he added that support in various forms is given to students at risk, such as counseling, emotional support, emergency psychiatric consultation and hospitalizations.

According to the official, the number of suicidal cases referred by schools for the education psychologist service of the Education and Manpower Bureau was 78 in the past three school years, no one completing suicide after being intervention.

During the same period, the Student Health Service of the Department of Health identified a total of 507 students with suicidal ideation or attempts, none of them having completed suicide following referral and intervention.

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2003)

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