Stress can cause students to consider suicide: poll

Staff writer, with CNA  / 

Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - Page 3

A civic group devoted to children’s rights found in a recent survey on teenagers’ emotional health that more than 15 percent of the nation’s high-school students have thought of committing suicide in the week before they were surveyed.

Of that group, 5.8 percent were advised to seek professional psychological help, according to the survey released on Friday by the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families.

The group with the highest percentage of teenagers who had thought about taking their own life were those whose scores in the basic competence test for junior- high school students were in the 97th percentile (the top 3 percent), the foundation said.

The survey was conducted from September to last month.

The foundation said that academic work, relationships and test scores have been known to be the three main causes of depression among teenagers aged between 15 and 18.

The latest survey among high-school students around the country has further highlighted this trend, it added.

The number of respondents who were suffering emotionally from academic pressure was three times the number of respondents facing family or relationship issues, the fund said.

Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they worried they would become the target of discrimination by teachers, and approximately 40 percent were afraid of losing their peers’ respect if their academic performance declined, the survey indicated.

Worried about their academic performance, teenagers can suffer from depression or be prone to bad moods because their grades fail to meet their expectations and they are short on rest, the foundation said.

“The survey indicates that children want to be healthy and free from tension, but they do not have time to unwind” because it is possible that they continue to feel the pressure of school work during weekends, psychologist Lee Chiu-chuan said.