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One in three primary school students and secondary school students are at risk of suicide in Hong Kong, a poll has suggested.

Caritas Hong Kong interviewed 1,500 students and found that 32% of students in primary five and primary six levels, plus 29% in form one and form two are at risk of suicide, Headline Daily reported. Primary six students were allegedly seen as those at the highest risk.

Some 40% of these “at-risk” primary students said they had thought about committing suicide, while 25% had harmed themselves.

For secondary students, 31.6% admitted to having suicidal thoughts, and almost 28% had engaged in self-harm.

These disturbing figures revealed family status and environmental changes, such as being part of a single-parent family or going to secondary school and adapting to a new social circle, could easily cause emotional problems for students.

The more students felt hopeless, unwelcome and a burden, the higher the risk they would commit suicide, the survey revealed.

Sylvia Kwok Lai Yuk-ching, an associate professor of social and behavioral sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, reminded parents to pay careful attention to children whose habits change.

She said warning signs to look out for were children sleeping longer, having a low appetite and being short of motivation, reported.

Parents should try to increase students’ happiness, resilience and self-efficacy as those factors could help lower the risk of them committing suicide.

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