More teenagers died from suicide in 2016, but the overall deaths by suicide in Hong Kong has been on a dropping trend since 2003.
Ahead of the annual World Suicide Prevention Day this Sunday, the HKU Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention released suicide figures for 2016 earlier today. The statistics show that 69 young people (those under the age of 24) killed themselves last year, compared to 65 in 2015.
The total number of all suicides in Hong Kong did not see a big change from the year before, while those 60 and above remain the group with the highest number of deaths by suicide.
"Young people have been facing a lot of challenges, uncertainties about the future...and even relationship problems (in recent years), and they don't know how to cope," Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, director of the centre said to explain the increase seen in the under 24 age group, but pointed out that it could be changed with support from family and society.
"To seek help when you're in need is not a sign of weakness but quite the contrary, it shows that you have the courage to solve difficulties and problems," said Yip. He added that schools and society have made changes and improvements following the student suicide cases last year. Many schools have been warned not to put studies as the students' sole priority.
Superintendent Stephen Liauw Ka-kei of the Police Negotiation Cadre said his team has given crisis handling workshops to more than 2000 school teachers in the past four years to teach them prevention methods.
Warning signs of suicide, he mentioned, can be as trivia as being in a bad mood or having no appetite for many days. Yip added that a dramatic change in personality, giving their beloved belongings away and unusual posts on Facebook and other social media platforms can also be signs. "Be vigilant to the signs, take a minute to care for your loved ones," he said.
If you believe you, or someone you know, is at immediate risk, call 999. An emergency unit will be deployed immediately.
- The Samaritans (2896 0000/samaritans.org.hk) is a 24-hour hotline for people who are in emotional distress and want to talk to someone. Calls are confidential, and can be made in English, Cantonese or Mandarin.
- Suicide Prevention Services (2382 0000/www.sps.org.hk)provides a 24-hour hotline and a Youth Link number. They promote "Caring, Listening, Acceptance and Companionship".
- Youth Link 2382 0777
- Further options for support can be found on HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention's page: www.depression.edu.hk