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A Quarter of Shanghai's Kids Contemplate Suicide

Nearly a quarter of all children in China's largest and wealthiest city Shanghai have considered committing suicide, according to a study published by state press.


Among some 2,500 middle school students surveyed in Shanghai, 24 percent contemplated killing themselves, 15.23 percent seriously considered taking action and 5.85 percent had actually tried to kill themselves, Xinhua news reported.


The survey conducted by Fudan University and Shanghai Academy of Education Sciences not only said parents were unaware of what their children were thinking but also placed the blame squarely on their shoulders.


According to Wang Zhenfeng, director of Beijing Mental Health Care Institute, most parents expect far too much from their kids.


"It's the major cause of suicides among youth," Wang was quoted by the report as saying.


Psychologists also blame heavy schoolwork, intense societal competition, the increasingly fast pace of life and conflicts between old and new ideas.


The first step to preventing teenage suicide was to cultivate self-esteem, something that too many Chinese parents did not do, Wang said.


A separate survey in China's northern Tianjin municipality showed that 15 percent of eight- to 15-year-olds there suffered from depression.


Statistics from the Health Ministry say that among China's 340 million young adults of 17 and under, 30 million suffer mental and behavioral problems, the report said.


(China Daily/Agencies October 14, 2004)

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