Youth suicides increasing: study
The suicide rate among persons under the age of 25 is increasing. Most young people who take their own lives do so because of stress and psychological difficulties, according to a Child Watch study.
Child Watch conducted a behavioural study of 140,000 young people during 2006 and 2007.
It found 7,363, or about 20 a day, had attempted to kill themselves in 2007 and 659 had been successful.
The study showed 35 per cent of the sample group were stressed and could not sleep. About 28 per cent were primary-school students under stress.
The study reported smoking among children and young people fell from 17 per cent in 2006 to 16 per cent in 2007. On the other hand, alcohol consumption increased from 36 per cent to 38 per cent.
Child Watch found that 4,346 young people had died in road accidents, mainly involving motorcycles.
The good news was the accessibility of university education. More than 70 per cent of disabled young people attended. However, one in every 10 university students skipped classes.
Child Watch found 65 per cent of high-school students had a mobile telephone and the average time spent on it each day was 93 minutes. Just 12 per cent used short message services.
One quarter of all young people studied used the Internet, spending an average of 140 minutes a day online. One-fifth played online games for as long as two hours a day.
The research determined that just one in 10 of the group practised religion, such as attending a temple of offering alms to monks or meditating. But 25 per cent said they prayed.
A high 40 per cent watched pornographic films and 18 per cent gambled on football games or purchased lottery tickets.
Sexually active vocational students increased from 30 per cent in 2006 to 36 per cent in 2007. About 68,385 girls aged 19 or younger had babies. Forty-five per cent of the young people in the study said they had classmates who were homosexual.
About 6,250 young people said they had been victims of sexual abuse.
Government figures for the whole country show that in 2007 43,000 young people were sent to juvenile jails.
Seventy per cent of the participants in the Child Watch study said they cheated at school.
Six out of every 10 believe corruption is a big problem for the country.
Child Watch project director Amornwich Nakkornthan said the organisation was introducing the Child Friendly City project, which will seek national strategies to improve the quality of life for young people.
These include safety, health, strengthening families, improving education, law and order, enforcement of young people's rights and enhancing opportunities for youth community activities.
It is hoped this will reduce problems and violence among young people. It will be piloted in 10 provinces: Nan, Lampang, Chiang Rai, Maha Sarakham, Yasothon, Ubon Ratchathani, Ayutthaya, Angthong, Suphan Buri and Trang.
The Nation Jan. 12, 2008