Alarming Rise in Mental Health Issues Among Hong Kong Youth: Study Reveals Troubling Trends

 / 

Hong Kong Youth

A recent study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has unveiled disturbing statistics about the mental health of children and adolescents in the region. The government-commissioned study indicates that nearly one in four Hong Kong youths experienced at least one mental disorder in the past year, with over 8% of secondary school students contemplating suicide.

These findings have raised concerns about the well-being of the city’s younger generation, prompting a closer examination of the factors contributing to these alarming trends.

Overview of Study Results:

Published on November 29, 2023, the CUHK study involved interviews with 6,082 children and adolescents, including non-ethnic Chinese pupils, and their parents between 2019 and 2023.

The results revealed that 24.4% of individuals aged six to 17 had encountered at least one mental health issue in the past year. Furthermore, half of these young individuals suffered from two or more co-occurring mental health problems, showcasing the complexity of the challenges faced by Hong Kong’s youth.

Suicidal Thoughts and Attempts by Hong Kong Youth:

A particularly concerning aspect of the study was the revelation that more than 8% of secondary school students had entertained thoughts of suicide.

Among all respondents, 3.9%, 1.9%, and 1.1% reported having suicide ideation, plan, or attempt, respectively. Secondary school students, in particular, experienced higher percentages, with 8.4%, 3.8%, and 2.3% reporting similar experiences.

The rise in youth suicides this year, with at least 28 cases, adds urgency to addressing the mental health crisis among Hong Kong’s students.

Factors Influencing Mental Health:

The study identified significant factors affecting respondents’ mental health, including parental emotional distress, school-related problems, and clinically significant sleep issues.

Professor Patrick Leung Wing-leung of CUHK’s psychology department emphasized the impact of parental emotional distress on children’s development, highlighting the need for parents to play a supportive role. Unrealistic academic expectations and subsequent anxiety and depression were also highlighted as contributing factors.

Reluctance to Seek Professional Help:

Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, the study found that nearly half of caregivers were unwilling to seek professional help for their children. Reasons cited included underestimating the severity of the problem, fear of stigma, and a lack of knowledge on seeking assistance. This reluctance poses a significant challenge to addressing mental health concerns effectively.

Call for Action:

In response to the concerning findings, CUHK researchers made approximately 500 referrals for respondents found to have mental health issues. The study emphasizes the need for comprehensive support systems, including educational, family, and youth services, to address the multifaceted challenges faced by Hong Kong’s children and adolescents.

Recommendations and Urgency:

Prominent figures, including Wong Yan-lung, chairman of the city’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health, stressed the importance of prioritizing students’ mental health over academic progress.

Urging schools to provide space for both teachers and students, he emphasized the need to allocate adequate resources for mental health support on the frontline. Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, a leading expert in suicide research and prevention, acknowledged the challenges faced by the medical system in addressing the mental health crisis but emphasized the urgency of taking action.

As Hong Kong grapples with the concerning prevalence of mental health issues among its youth, the CUHK study serves as a crucial wake-up call. The complex interplay of factors contributing to the well-being of children and adolescents requires a concerted effort from educational institutions, families, and mental health services.

The urgency to prioritize mental health and implement effective support systems is paramount in safeguarding the future of Hong Kong’s younger generation.


— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

New Study Reveals Link Between Depression, Anorexia, and Gut Microbiota

Hong Kong Youth

A recent study published in BMC Psychiatry sheds light on a potential connection between major depressive disorder (MDD), anorexia, and gut microbiota. Led by researchers at the First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, the study suggests that individuals with both depression and anorexia exhibit distinct patterns in their gut bacteria, particularly involving the presence of a specific bacterium called Blautia.

Depression, characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in daily activities, affects millions worldwide and is often accompanied by a high risk of suicide. Anorexia, marked by reduced appetite and distorted body image, commonly co-occurs with depression, complicating treatment efforts.

Gut Bacteria’s Role in Depression and Anorexia

Up Next

Anxiety Alleviation: Dietitians Recommend 4 Drinks to Lower Anxiety

Hong Kong Youth

In a world where stress and anxiety are prevalent, with up to 19% of U.S. adults experiencing prolonged anxiety, the quest for effective coping mechanisms continues.

While traditional treatments like medication and therapy remain pillars of support, emerging research suggests that dietary choices, including hydration, might play a significant role in managing anxiety levels.

Drinks to Lower Anxiety You Must Know About

Here, we delve into the top drinks to lower anxiety recommended by dietitians –

1. Chamomile Tea: Renowned for its calming properties, chamomile tea contains apigenin, a flavonoid compound known for its anti-anxiety effects. Wan Na Chan, M.P.H., RD,

Up Next

Managing Autoimmune Disorders Through Yoga: Effective Practices to Consider

Hong Kong Youth

In recent years, the intersection between holistic practices like yoga and conventional medicine has garnered significant attention, particularly in the realm of managing autoimmune disorders.

A burgeoning body of research suggests that incorporating yoga into treatment plans can offer tangible benefits for individuals grappling with autoimmune conditions. From rheumatoid arthritis to lupus, yoga’s gentle yet powerful techniques hold promise in alleviating symptoms and improving overall quality of life.

Yoga, with its emphasis on mindful movement, breathwork, and relaxation, provides a multifaceted approach to managing autoimmune disorders. The practice not only addresses physical symptoms but also targets the underlying stress and inflammation that often exacerbate these conditions.

Up Next

Pregnancy Linked to Accelerated Aging Process in Women, Study Finds

Hong Kong Youth

In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers shed light on a compelling connection between pregnancy and the aging process in women.

The study, led by Calen Ryan, an associate research scientist at the Columbia University Ageing Center, suggests that women who have experienced pregnancy may exhibit more signs of biological aging compared to those who haven’t. Intriguingly, the research also indicates that the aging process may accelerate with multiple pregnancies.

Ryan commented on the findings, stating, “We’re discovering that pregnancy leaves lasting effects on the body. While not all are negative, it appears to heighten the risk of certain diseases and overall mortality.”

Stud

Up Next

Unlocking Hoarding Disorder: Understanding, Support, and Effective Solutions

Hong Kong Youth

Hoarding disorder, a mental health condition characterized by persistent difficulty in parting with possessions and accumulating excessive clutter, affects millions of individuals worldwide. Here’s what you need to know about this often misunderstood disorder and how to support those who struggle with it.

Defining Hoarding Disorder:

Hoarding disorder is a complex mental health condition marked by a compulsive urge to accumulate possessions, leading to overwhelming clutter and difficulty discarding items.

According to experts like Brad Schmidt and Gregory Chasson, individuals with hoarding disorder often experience distress at the thought of parting with their belongings and may also have a strong desire to acquire new items.

Up Next

Understanding Cherophobia: Signs, Causes, and Coping Strategies

Hong Kong Youth

Cherophobia, a condition characterized by an aversion to happiness, has garnered attention for its impact on mental well-being.

Derived from the Greek word “Chairo,” meaning “I rejoice,” cherophobia manifests as an irrational fear of experiencing joy. Therapist Carolyn Rubenstein explains that this fear often stems from anxious thoughts associated with past trauma or childhood experiences linking happiness to negative outcomes.

Signs of Cherophobia

Recognizing the signs of cherophobia is crucial for identifying individuals who may be struggling with this condition:

Feelings of Guilt and Unworthiness: Those with cherophobia experience guilt and unwor

Up Next

Stress Can Lead to Cortisol Belly: Here’s How to Fix It

Hong Kong Youth

Stress can affect our lives in many ways, from our mental health to our relationships, but it can also lead to physical symptoms such as ‘cortisol belly’. Cortisol belly, named after the stress hormone, has been widely discussed on social platforms such as TikTok, with users and experts explaining how it occurs, and theorizing what could be done about it.

While you may not have heard of the term ‘cortisol belly’ before, you might have heard of stubborn belly fat or stress belly, which are essentially the same thing. This is because it refers to the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue around the stomach, which has been linked to prolonged exposure to elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

What Is Cortisol Belly?

According to dietitian