Stressed students are not unique to any country; it’s a global occurrence.
There are many reasons why they can feel trapped and isolated, e.g. study pressures, cyberbullying, financial worries, abuse, mental health issues – the list goes on and on.
In the majority of countries, there are issues around identifying at-risk students and often limited resources to do so. At the same time, there are many students who are struggling – overwhelmed by their studies, their circumstances and their parents’ expectations – and they need support.
Competitive education systems
For instance, there has recently been concern in Hong Kong over the number of students committing suicide, with more than 20 taking their own lives in the first half of the last academic year.
The report by the Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides submitted to the Education department, did not, however, lay the blame directly on Hong Kong’s high pressure education system. In its analysis of 71 suicide cases between 2013 and 2016, it found that the majority were the result of mental health problems, negative attitudes and stress from family life and studies. The report’s authors have called for educators to improve students’ “ability to handle stress and recognise their talents instead of just their academic achievements,” according to the South China Morning Post.
But it’s not just Hong Kong that is grappling with this issue in its own way. As education becomes more competitive on a global scale, other countries are also encountering high rates of student suicides: Japan, the UK, and the USA, for example.
As the higher education experience becomes increasingly digital, it makes sense for institutions to use new technologies to provide a means for students to be supported. Colleges and universities are now beginning to think about using technology to help ease the transition from secondary to higher education.
In the meantime, there are supportive solutions appearing – like this one here – that make it easier for troubled students to reach out for help virtually to a member of college staff, whilst giving students the choice of an alternative self-help list of relevant external agencies to contact for support.
This, at least, is a small step in the right direction to help anxious students. Support from technology will never replace that of another human being, but if it provides the link between despair and help, then it’s a huge positive.