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September 11, 2009

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Student suicide survey shock

ALMOST one in four students has thought of suicide, according to a survey released yesterday at a seminar in Yangpu District to mark the seventh World Suicide Prevention Day.

Suicide has becoming the prime cause of death among 15 to 34-year-olds with students accounting for a large proportion of the total, experts said.

The thought of killing themselves had occurred to about 24.39 percent students while 15.23 percent had taken suicide into serious consideration, according to the study by the Children's Hospital of Fudan University and local education authorities.

Of the 2,500-plus students questioned, 2.85 percent had planned how to commit suicide and 1.71 percent students had tried but failed.

"Most young students nowadays come from families with rather good economic condition and haven't met much difficulties," said Shan Huaihai, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. "Thus they are weak inside when facing frustrations."

Shan said teenagers could be greatly affected by the divorce of their parents, stress in relationships and communications with others and the frustrations in daily life - all of which might lead to affective disorder.

A pilot suicide-prevention system is being carried out in four secondary schools in Pudong New Area in a bid to address the problem, officials said. The programs will be focused on a respect for life, officials with Shanghai Mental Health Center said.

Basic skills on how to control emotions and deal with family conflicts will be taught, while psychological therapy will be given to students with depression or suicidal thoughts.

Students with extreme mental health problems will receive intense psychological treatment together with medication to prevent tragedy, center officials said.


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