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30% of Secondary School Students Reported Decline in Mental Health During Pandemic

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The Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) of HKU held a press conference on June 17 to release the results of its study on “Strengthen Family Relationships” and to present awards for the “Wellbeing Guardians” program in primary schools across Hong Kong. According to Professor Paul YIP Siu-Fai, Director of the Centre, their research found that 30 percent of secondary school students experienced declining mental health during the pandemic.

The research team pointed out that families spent more time together during the pandemic due to quarantine measures or special school arrangements, which led to significant changes in parent-child relationships. Spending prolonged periods together presented unique family challenges, such as increased stress, difficulty balancing work and family time, and conflicts over trivial matters. On the other hand, prolonged time together also created opportunities for improved family connections, communication, and support.

The study surveyed approximately 6,700 secondary school students and found that 30 percent reported declining mental health during the pandemic. However, 20 percent felt that their mental health had improved. The research compared students who were dissatisfied with their academic performance with those whose academic performance did not change and found that the former had relatively poorer mental health.

However, students who were satisfied with their family relationships felt that their mental health had improved. Therefore, the research team believes that improving family relationships and increasing the quality of family time is essential for improving young people’s mental health.

‘Wellbeing Guardians’ Program Attracts Over 6 Thousand Participants

To address these challenges, the CSRP of HKU developed the “Wellbeing Guardians” program to help primary school students and parents build parent-child relationships through activities to strengthen family ties and promote physical and mental health.

The “Wellbeing Guardians” program is based on the Bio-Psycho-Social (BPS) model, combined with positive psychology theory, and designed as a 24-day personal and parent-child activity to encourage parents and children to practice positive character strengths together, enhance their mental health, increase resilience, and cultivate positive thinking.

Epoch Times Photo
Ivan Wong, Chief Executive of Ocean Park, attended the award presentation ceremony of the “Wellbeing Guardians” program and commended the students who participated in the program with flying colours. (Courtesy of The University of Hong Kong)

The program was launched during the Chinese New Year and Easter holidays, with over six thousand participants from approximately 100 primary schools across Hong Kong. Participants engaged in different character strength-related parent-child activities through the website daily, with around six thousand submissions received, including family photos and short videos. The organizers described the program as promoting parent-child relationships and enhancing family resilience.

 



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