The Education Bureau (EDB) has been encouraging schools to adopt the Whole School Approach directed at 3 levels, namely Universal, Selective and Indicated, as suggested by the Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides, to promote mental health amongst students and enhance support for students with mental health needs (including those with suicidal risk).
At the Universal level, the EDB has been actively promoting diversified development programmes featuring adventure-based, team building and problem-solving training, such as the “Understanding Adolescent Project” for primary schools, the “Enhanced Smart Teen Project” for secondary schools and the “Pupil Ambassador Scheme on Positive Living” for primary and secondary schools, to enhance students’ resilience, cultivate their sense of dignity, self-discipline and responsibility, and boost their courage to make changes and take on challenges. From the 2016/17 to 2018/19 school years, the EDB and the Department of Health jointly launched the Joyful@School Campaign to enhance students’ awareness and understanding of mental health and strengthen their ability to cope with environmental changes. Drawing on experiences and insights, many schools have since sustained their effort in promoting mental health on campus.
At the Selective level, to help serving teachers support students with special educational needs (SEN), the EDB has been organising structured training programmes pitched at basic, advanced and thematic levels (BAT Courses) for them starting from the 2007/08 school year. Some modules of the BAT Courses cover mental illness. From the 2017/18 school year onwards, the EDB has also provided primary and secondary school teachers with the “Professional Development Programme for Mental Health”, which includes 3-day elementary training for teachers at large and 5-day in-depth training for designated teachers, with a view to raising their awareness of mental health and enhancing their professional knowledge and skills for identifying and supporting students with mental health needs. Besides, the EDB also organises related talks, seminars, experience sharing sessions, etc. in each school year. In addition, the EDB has published “A Resource Handbook for Schools: Detecting, Supporting and Making Referral for Students with Suicidal Behaviours” and “Teacher’s Resource Handbook on Understanding and Supporting Students with Mental Illness” developed in collaboration with the Hospital Authority (HA) for reference of teachers and school personnel.
At the Indicated level, starting from the 2017/18 school year, the Learning Support Grant has covered students with mental illness so that schools can strengthen their support for these students’ learning, social, emotional and behavioural needs. Moreover, the Food and Health Bureau, in collaboration with the EDB, HA and the Social Welfare Department, has launched the “Student Mental Health Support Scheme” since the 2016/17 school year to provide appropriate support services for students with mental health needs through a school-based platform.
The EDB will continue to review the services, and continue to collaborate with other bureaux/departments in promoting student mental health and providing appropriate support services for students with mental health needs.