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Suicide prevention centre to be established
By Li Jian (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-06 01:37

Faced with a rising number of suicides, the city of Shanghai is planning a prevention centre.

Particular attention will be paid to preventable suicide attempts in subways, where seven people have killed themselves this year alone.

The suicide prevention centre may be the first of its kind in China.

The Psychological Crisis Intervention Centre will work with hospitals, police and firefighters to create a suicide prevention network.

At the core of suicide prevention efforts will be a rapid reaction group of psychologists that will complement prevention education at hospitals and treatment for people identified by hospitals as possibly suicidal.

The central aim of the rapid reaction team will be to respond to suicide threats and prevent people from taking that final step.

Both a hotline and an Internet website will be established to provide information and help people think twice before resorting to the thoughts of committing suicide. A group of psychologists will also be available.

At the same time, the group intends to set up monitoring at local subways to bring the suicide cases under control.

"Subways have now become the first choice of those who want to commit suicide," said Shan Huaihai, a psychological specialist working on the new centre.

The centre will also focus on research of psychological problems which may lead to suicides among young and children.

A recent survey revealed that 24 per cent of local youngsters have thought of committing suicide, 5.58 per cent have planned it, and 1.71 per cent tried to kill themselves but failed.

"What is worth worrying is that most parents are not aware of it," said professor Gao Hongyun from the Children's Hospital of Fudan University.

Gao said children rarely tell their parents they want to commit suicide. They keep it a secret until they are caught attempting it or succeed.

The reasons for attempting suicide among young people are varied.

Pupils feel frustrated because of strained family financial conditions or because of punishment and humiliation from teachers.

Middle school students are sometimes upset over inferior achievement at school or too much homework.

Peer pressure, looks and the frustrations of love are also factors driving them to desperation.

Communication between students, parents and teachers should be promoted while everybody should be aware and alert of possible signs.

"Young people need help to get rid of tension and frustration," said Gao.

The centre will also aim to give people considering suicide a place to express themselves and find other channels to vent their frustration.

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