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The Problem

Depressed Children

  • Compared to the global average, 10% more children in Hong Kong reported feeling depressed in 2021.1
  • In 2021, only 15.5% of children in the city rated their health as very good, compared to the 36.3% global average. 1
  • A 2021 survey found that Hong Kong children aged 6-17 hit a five-year low in terms of happiness.2
  • In the 2019-20 school year, bullying in Hong Kong’s primary and secondary schools reached a 10-year high with reported cases increasing by over 50% year on year. 3
  • At least 23 primary and secondary pupils were suspected to have committed suicide during the 2019-20 school year, which is an 8-year high. 4

Stressed Teachers

  • Thousands of teachers across Asia are experiencing mental health problems as online learning during the pandemic have brought new feelings of stress, inadequacy and guilt.5
  • The average self-reported teacher stress level has risen to 6.97 out of 10. 6
  • Over 80% of teachers responded that their physical and mental well-being has been affected by the pandemic. Many of them say they are exhausted and almost half reported feelings of job anxiety. 7
  • A Hong Kong Psychological Society study, commissioned by the Professional Teachers’ Union and carried out in Spring 2018 found that 52.2% of 1,836 teachers interviewed displayed symptoms of moderate or serious depression, including feelings of hopelessness, fatigue and sleep disorder. 23% rated their work stress as “extremely huge”, while another 58.2% rated it as “very huge.”8

References

  1. Low, Z. & Ng, K. (2021, June 8). Hong Kong’s children unhappier, less healthy than peers elsewhere, new World Health Organization survey finds. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3136390/hong-kongs-children-unhappier-less-healthy-peers
  2. Chan, H. (2021, April 15). Hong Kong schools report 50% jump in bullying despite in-person classes being suspended because of COVID-19. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/3129569/hong-kong-schools-report-50-cent-jump-bullying-despite
  3. Chan, H. (2021, April 16). Hong Kong children unhappiest they have been in five years, with nearly 10 percent planning to leave city over fears for future, new survey finds. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/news/hong-kong/article/3072361/one-three-hk-students-has-experienced-bullying-past-six
  4. Chan, H. (2021, April 27). Hong Kong’s teachers told to be on alert after suspected suicides among city’s children hits eight-year high. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3131301/hong-kongs-teachers-told-be-alert-after-suspected-suicides
  5. Dhillon, A. (2021, October 1). From Singapore and Malaysia to the Philippines, teachers say online learning left them struggling with mental health: ‘I dread going to school.’ Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3150718/singapore-and-malaysia-philippines-teachers-say-online
  6. Choy, G. (2021, April 18). Stress among Hong Kong’s students and teachers has risen to worrying levels during the coronavirus pandemic, local groups say. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/3130023/stress-among-hong-kongs-students-and-teachers-has-risen
  7. Chan, H. (2020, December 15). Hong Kong fourth wave: Covid-19 has taken even worse toll on city’s teachers than last year’s protests, with most feeling ‘high pressure’ union says. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/3114027/hong-kong-fourth-wave-covid-19-has-taken-even-worse-toll
  8. (2018, September 3). Half of Hong Kong students and teachers show signs of depression due to stress of school workload. Young Post. Retrieved from: https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/news/hong-kong/article/3055444/half-hong-kong-students-and-teachers-show-signs