*Note: This is not a typical post from Empower Asia however we felt that it is important for us to respond to this growing crisis amongst the young people in our city.
Wednesday evening in Hong Kong another student committed suicide, and all week long there has been pundits, experts and officials chiming in to give their perspective on whether this is becoming an epidemic, or whether it is within acceptable thresholds of suicide rates when compared to other world cities.
As a Chinese-American, I can’t help but draw comparisons with the typical pattern that manifests after the mass-shootings that have been occurring all too frequently in the United States. The effects seem to be the same: people take sides, become distracted with petty or secondary issues, or go back to often repeated clichés.
We cannot compartmentalize ourselves into our academic or career life, our social or romantic life, or even our societal and spiritual life. They are all important parts of what makes us human.
Of course, not all of these are devoid of a sliver of truth, and there are some practical suggestions that should be considered. A Psychotherapist has urged parents to communicate more with their children. One university has hired a psychologist to visit the campus weekly to see students; others have demanded a re-evaluation of the education system that places an staggering amount of pressure on the students. Still more on both sides have asked “how much of these deaths are related to the complex series of thoughts and emotions wrapped up in the Umbrella Movement and other forms of student activism?”
I could go on further about the possible causes and motivations involved in these suicides in Hong Kong, but there is no need to add to the masses of such responses. Each death is a tragedy and each one a sad reminder that we live in a broken world.
We all know that our society is not perfect. Some of us see it clearly—and perhaps it is that reality that pushes one to take their own life. It’s not my place to diagnose and determine the legitimacy of each of their reasons. However, what is important and responsible as fellow members of our community is to recognize that it is seldom one factor or issue that leads one to take their own life. Life is more complex than that. WE are more complex than that.
We cannot compartmentalize ourselves into our academic or career life, our social or romantic life, or even our societal or spiritual life. They are all important parts of what makes us human.
Every area spills over and has an impact on us, and if we as a society hope to effectively address this pandemic of suicides among young people, we must stop thinking in the same boxes as before and take a step back to see things from a systemic level, from a communal level, and even from a cultural, social, and spiritual level. We must find solutions, and whatever these solutions are, they must address the cares and concerns of young people in a holistic way.
Empower Asia is committed to helping young people do that very thing. We believe that young people have so much potential to do great things. The challenges of the present will find their solutions in the creativity and ingenuity of the next generation, but like all generations before them, they need help.
While nothing can be done for those precious lives that have already been lost, we are dedicated to doing everything we can as an organization to stand in solidarity with young people through whatever life circumstances they may face in the hope that they would be able to emerge from them as empowered, joyful people that live fully and walk in freedom in all areas of their lives.
For a Brighter Future,
Director of Mentoring Services
If you are a student or young professional who desires a connection with someone who will commit to walking with them and empowering them to live fully and vibrantly, we would love to connect you with one of our coaches. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org/~empower to get started with us.