Prevention of Teenage Suicidal Behaviour in Hong Kong : Development of the Health Intervention Training-Mutual Aid Network (HIT-MAN)

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-114
Journal / PublicationSchool Psychology International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1994


In Hong Kong, teachers, social workers, school counsellors and parents are faced with frequent incidents of suicide and attempted suicide. These crisis events have now reached epidemic proportions in children and adolescents. It is crucial to identify and offer timely intervention to those most likely to attempt suicide. Despite the urgent intervention required to cope with teenage suicidal behaviour, no school-based prevention programmes have been developed in Hong Kong. The Health Intervention Training-Mutual Aid Network (HIT-MAN), developed by the present authors, aims to identify students who may be at risk from suicidal behaviour in particular, the expression of suicidal ideas. HIT-MAN is a specifically designed social network set up in a school with the primary purpose of promoting positive mental health through mutual support among students. The programme is a student-centred approach which addresses students' needs with a minimum input from existing teachers and other caring professionals. Through the formal development of groups of buddies, students are given opportunities to develop positive attitudes towards life and give each other much-needed friendly support. At present, it is difficult for teachers to detect at-risk students. In terms of suicide prevention, HIT-MAN is an early detection and early intervention approach. In addition to being a programme aimed at preventing suicide, HIT-MAN is also a way of helping students to develop positive peer cultures, using techniques which complement Hong Kong students' preference for group activities. © 1994, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

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