Study: 33,000 Children in Hong Kong Are Depressed Because of School

About one in 10 children attending primary schools in Hong Kong has symptoms of major depression, a new survey revealed.

Released on Sunday, the survey by Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service polled 1,301 pupils aged nine to 13 from grades three to six across 14 schools in the city between January and March 2017.

Researchers asked questions about their family and school life, while measuring their risks for anxiety and depression.

Results showed that 9.7% — or about one in 10 — feel down and lose interest on most days of the week, suggesting major depressive disorder.

At such rate, the agency estimates that more than 33,000 could be affected throughout the city, where there are 349,000 primary schoolchildren.

In addition, the survey found that 13.2% of the students showed symptoms of depression. Another 21.7% suffered from constant stress, most of whom blamed “too much homework,” “preparing for secondary schooling” and “unsatisfactory academic performance,” the South China Morning Post noted.

The youngest case to be diagnosed with the illness was 10. Symptoms of depression include fatigue, feeling of uselessness and loss of appetite, as well as diarrhea, stomach pain and weight loss.

Interestingly, researchers also found that a lack of psychological resilience was the most prominent risk factor for childhood depression. Ester Lee Ming-lam, clinical psychologist, said in a press conference (via the Hong Kong Free Press):

“Children may not use the same methods as adults in expressing their inner thoughts – so we would look at more extrinsic factors, such as those relating to the physical body. For example, their sleep may be affected: they may sleep too much or experience insomnia, or they may have poor sleeping quality and have a lot of nightmares.”

Lee urged parents to interact with their children and look beyond academic results, including creativity, confidence and empathy, according to The Standard.

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com