04/07/2022, 17.11
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Post-pandemic rise in suicides sets off alarm bells in Hồ Chí Minh City

by Peter Tran

Educators are confronted by teenagers taking their own life after going back to school following the end of COVID-19 closure. For psychologist Phạm Thị Thúy, parents and teachers put too much pressure on students.

Hồ Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Millions of Vietnamese students have been back for the 2022-2023 school year after the pandemic forced the authorities to shut down schools.

However, many of them – along with parents and teachers – are still feeling the effects of COVID-19, with the number of young people suffering from depression and committing suicide rising daily.

“It is a fact that many students go to school every day, but they do not feel happy because of pressure from school, teachers, subjects and even friends,” said Huỳnh Thanh Phú, principal at the Nguyễn Du High School in Hồ Chí Minh City.

This is setting off alarm bells across the country about the impact of depression among students.

“Schools and parents only care about their children’s academic performance and not about their children’s psychological problems,” noted Phạm Thị Thúy, a psychological consultant in Hồ Chí Minh City.

“The risk of depression is high in all ages, but especially young people, who don't feel loved.” Tragically, the rising number of students taking their own life is evidence of this trend.

Nguyễn N.V., a student from Bình Định province, is one example. After he arrived in Hồ Chí Minh City for the new school year, he jumped into a river wearing a backpack containing 10 kilos of stones.

On 21 February, a female student at NHT High School committed suicide by jumping from the 3rd floor of a building.

On 1 April, a 16-year-old grade 10 male student at the Amsterdam High School for the Gifted in Hà Nội threw himself from the 28th floor of his apartment building.

Many educators are wondering what pressures might lead to such acts? The victims come from both well-to-do as well as poor families.

According to psychologist Phạm Thị Thúy, pressure from parents and teachers who demand high performance is behind the problem.

In order to reduce the risk of depression among students, the expert suggests that families, local authorities and educators put “love first in all social relations and teach children to love as well as respect and take care of themselves.”

Only this way, “will they be able to prevent and deal with negative events in their lives. People need affection and mutual understanding in the right residential communities.”

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