Prevention is the Cure When It Comes to Suicide
及早介入預防自殺發生



Suicide is a worry in any society, but there is a perennial problem in addressing it: how do you intervene and stop it from happening?

To Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, trying to identify potential suicides is near-impossible. But the risk can be reduced through a public health approach that raises awareness across society as a whole and minimises exposure to different kinds of risk factors.

The Centre has been involved in identifying problem areas and groups, lobbying to restrict access to substances used in suicide attempts such as charcoal, and producing a website, ”Little Prince is Depressed”, that explains suicide risks to secondary school students.

自殺對於任何社會都是沉重的話題,但處理這個問題時往往會遇上另一難題,就是應如何有效介入才能防止悲劇發生。

香港大學香港賽馬會防止自殺研究中心總監葉兆輝教授認為,要識別潛在自殺傾向個案,幾乎不可能。但從公共健康出發的模式,可以提高社會對自殺問題的關注及了解,接觸高危誘因的機會減至最低,從而降低自殺風險。

中心積極辨識引致自殺行為的因素和高風險群,並積極提倡不應讓人輕易接觸和取得自殺工具,例如炭等物品。此外,中心亦製作了「憂鬱小王子」網站,加強中學生對相關高危誘因和風險的了解。

Primary school participants (front) showing their artworks at the end of the orientation day with their mentors (back)

More recently, they have taken their efforts to primary schools to address problems of self-esteem, which can become a suicide risk factor as children get older. Prevention measures are urgently needed because every year three to five Hong Kong students commit suicide.

”These children [who commit suicide] don’t have good coping skills,” Professor Yip says. ”Everyone, you and me, could learn how to cope better. It doesn’t work if you say, you shouldn’t kill yourself. You need to understand the problems, the low self-esteem, the low problem-solving skills. It’s important to go back to these basics and take a public health approach.”

In March 2011 the Centre started working at a Tin Shui Wai school with Primary 4 students at-risk, such as those from single-parent homes or with learning or behavioural problems. They were paired with HKU students and staff who acted as mentors and kept regular phone contact with the children and took them on outings. The children’s parents and teachers also received training on helping the children to cope.

The project ran for nine months and at the end, 25 students who had met the requirement of the program, good attendance records and showed improved relationships with their parents were rewarded with a trip to Disneyland, together with three family members, extending the whole-family approach. The project with the trip was financed through private donations. The support from Mr and Mrs Lawrence Fung, Mr and Mrs Stephen Tsang and Disneyland Inc are gratefully acknowledged for their generosity and care for our young people.

The headmaster of the school reported that both behaviour and academic results had improved. He has asked the Centre to continue the program although Professor Yip said they had limited resources to do this and hope some other NGOs can take up the task.

“‘Our job is to train the trainer and share expertise and knowledge so the community can carry the torch. We try to find out what methods are effective and we collect data and evidence to back that up,” he says. The Centre becomes a knowledge hub and an incubator for generating evidence-based practice suicide prevention programs.
Hopefully, the results will contribute to a wider goal of promoting mental health in the community and reducing suicide risks.

近期中心的工作擴展至小學,針對自我形象的問題,因為它是使孩子在成長過程中萌生自殺念頭的風險因素之一。香港每年有三至五宗學童自殺個案,實有迫切需要採取預防措施。

葉教授說:「輕生學童通常缺乏良好適應能力。其實每個人都可以學習如何更妥善地應付問題,但如果只告訴他們『自殺不能解決問題』,實際作用不大。最重要是了解問題核心,例如自我形象低落、解難能力不足等等。通過深入分析這些基本問題,繼而在社區中從公共健康層面著手,達到防止自殺的目標。」

本中​​心於2011年3月起在天水圍一間小學向屬高風險群的四年級學生提供輔導,包括來自單親家庭,或有學習或行為問題的學童。他們與擔任導師的香港大學學生和教職員配對,導師與學童定期以電話聯絡和帶他們外出。學童的家長和老師也接受培訓,以幫助孩子適應。

項目為期九個月。25位達到項目要求、出席記錄良好及與父母關係改善的學童獲得獎勵,每人可與三位家庭成員一起免費暢遊迪士尼樂園,這亦切合項目以家庭為本的概念。項目開支連同旅費由私人捐款資助,中心特別鳴謝馮紹波伉儷、曾志本伉儷和香港迪士尼主題樂園對項目的慷慨贊助以及對年輕人的關懷。

該校校長表示,參與項目的學童在行為和學業成績方面均有改善,故希望項目能夠繼續在該校推行。但葉教授表示由於資源有限,因此希望其他非政府組織能夠接手這項目。

他說:「我們的工作主要是訓練培訓人員以及分享專業知識和經驗,以期喚醒社會大眾對防止自殺的關注。我們致力研究有效的防止自殺措施,並收集數據資料支持理據。」中心已成為一個知識樞紐,發展以實證為本的防止自殺措施。

本中心期望,項目的成果能促進社區精神健康和降低自殺風險。


Add New Comment

Current day month ye@r *