“Connect the Disconnected” HKU HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention releases the latest figures and prevention recommendations on suicide
Everyone can make a difference in suicide prevention by working together. World Suicide Prevention day is observed each year on September 10 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). As a member of the IASP, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) holds a press conference today (September 10) with the theme “Connect the Disconnected” to release the latest suicide figures in Hong Kong and to share the outcome of CSRP’s “Cross-generational Love and Care” Video Campaign.
Latest Suicide Figures
With data extracted from the Coroner’s Court, CSRP estimated that the suicide rate1in Hong Kong was 13.0 in 2019, which is higher than the 12.3 recorded in 2018. To enable valid comparison of suicide rates among different regions, suicide rates are standardized and adjusted according to the age structure of the world population. Since aging in Hong Kong is more serious than in other regions, after adjustment, the age-standardized suicide rate in Hong Kong is estimated at 9.7 for 2019, lower than the global rate of 10.5 for 2016 (World Health Organization, 2018).
From 1997 to the figure estimated for 2019, suicide rate of males has been consistently higher and doubling that of females. The overall suicide rate is estimated to be 13.0 in 2019, with a slight rise from 12.3 in 2018. The suicide rate of elderly people has always been higher than that of other age groups. Within the elderly population, the suicide rate of men aged 60 or above increased to 30.7, the highest since 2014. While the suicide rate of women aged 60 or above has been on a downward trend, the suicide rate of women aged 25-39 increased from 5.1 in 2018 to 6.6 in 2019. On the other hand, the suicide rate of children aged below 15 remained at a low level of 0.8 in the past four years.
In recent years, youth suicides have become a heightened concern in society. The suicide rate of 15 to 24-year-olds had increased from 8.3 in 2012 to 10.4 in 2017. The suicide rate of adolescents in 2019 continued in a declining trend in 2018 and fell to an estimated 8.3. The suicide rate in the 25-39 age group rose from a historical low of 10.5 in 2018 to 11.8 in 2019.
The rising number of student suicide cases and the complexity of suicide is of concern to society and Professor Yip calls on members of the community to work together in suicide prevention for the betterment of society. CSRP is collaborating with non-government organizations to provide new services for youth in need of online-crisis support.
“Cross-generational Love and Care” Video Campaign
Mental wellness of elderly people has always been one of our concerns. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents in care homes for the aged could not meet with their families. This might arouse feelings of loneliness and induce negative emotions. Hence, the CSRP, supported by the Community Partner Foundation, launched the “Cross-generational Love & Care” project in May 2020. A video campaign was organized inviting children aged 2 to 8 from local kindergartens and primary schools to produce short video clips to show their care to elderly people living in care homes. Through this campaign, children and their parents were given an opportunity to work together to do charity and express their love, care and respect to elderly people in the community. Moreover, children could learn to express love and care and develop a caring attitude through field experience, and to spread positive messages to the community during the pandemic.
Approximately 100 videos were submitted by children from 45 local kindergartens and primary schools, with creative content ranging from parent-child cooking, handcrafting, singing and dancing, to magic shows, instrument-playing, and exercising. After the first round of screening, 20 videos were selected to enter the finals The best 20 videos were shown at participating care homes to bring joy and amusement to the residents, with the aim of making them feel the love and care from the community. The judging panel, comprising representatives from various NGOs and professionals on ageing, selected 5 groups of participants as the final winners for the Merit Awards including “The Most Heart-warming Video”, “The Most Entertaining Video”, “The Most Attractive Video” and “The Most Creative Video”.
Winners of “The Most Creative Video Award” were the Tsang’s brothers, of Grade 4 and K2 from St. Paul’s Co-educational College Primary School and Sheng Kung Hui Kindergarten respectively. Their parent said: “My children were given a chance to care for people who are in need and to express respect to elderly people through this campaign. They were very happy and enjoyed taking the video. Hope this happiness could be brought to the elderly community.”
Ms. Kam, a social worker from Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Home of Loving Care for the Elderly, one of the participating care homes, said: “The project is very meaningful. The elderly residents were so happy when they watched the children performing in the videos!”
The winning teams and their parents have been invited to visit the care homes after the pandemic. Through face-to-face interactions, children can express their love and care for the elderly people. At the same time, elderly people are provided with a platform to share their precious life stories and experience with the next generation.
About the HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (CSRP), HKU
Founded in 2002, CSRP has established its worldwide reputation in suicide research and prevention and extended its scope of research to the well-being of individuals as well as the whole society. CSRP believes that empirical research would optimize practices and contribute to the improvement of a society.
This press release, the PowerPoint and the photos for the press conference can be downloaded from the following website after 16:00, September 10, 2020:
For media enquiries, please contact Ms. Katy CHEUNG at telephone number 2831 5232, or email to email@example.com.
1 All suicide rates are calculated as per 100,000 people. Taking the overall suicide rate in 2018 (12.2) as example, it means there were 12.2 per 100,000 people in Hong Kong died by suicide.