Signs of depression, anxiety found in majority of secondary one pupils

More than half of secondary one students show signs of depression while over 60 percent suffer from symptoms of anxiety and are easily irritated from the stress of exams, a survey found.

A youth group announced the survey findings ahead of the release of secondary school allocation results tomorrow.

The Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association surveyed some 596 secondary one students and 316 parents in May. It found that many of them suffered from depression and anxiety - especially students.

It also found that 55 percent of students suffer from mild to major depression symptoms while 51 percent suffer mild to major anxiety symptoms. Parents appeared to fare better with those percentages standing at, respectively, 28 and 33.

Also, girls seemed to be prone to higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Akina Sze Sin-li, who is in charge of the association's family-wellness center, said girls go through puberty earlier than boys and may be more sensitive to judgement from peers.

"It is not easy for students to adapt to secondary-school life," Sze said.

She noted students' stress doubled amid the pandemic as they could not meet new friends or experience school activities, adding parents should strive to understand the reasons behind their children's behavior.

Further, some 68 percent of students said they "felt nervous, upset or annoyed" because of their transition to middle school. They cited "dealing with tests and exams," "getting unsatisfactory results" and an "increase in subjects" as the top three stressors of the transition.