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Stressed students lack safe place to vent concerns

By Duong Tam   May 24, 2022 | 03:00 am PT
Stressed students lack safe place to vent concerns
A girl studying online at her home in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Phan Duong
Tuan Khanh of Hanoi's Ba Dinh District burst into tears when she spoke out about her pressures as a student in the absence of sympathy from her family.

Speaking at an open forum titled ‘Dieu Em Muon Noi’ (The Things I Want To Say) held on May 17 at Giang Vo Secondary School, she said she had been a good student who also actively participated in many extracurricular activities.

However, the pressure of being a "good child" in the eyes of friends and relatives causes her to frequently experience anxiety and stress, particularly during the lengthy period of studying online during the Covid-19 outbreak.

She then lost interest in studying and stopped participating in school and class activities, which resulted in poor assessment results.

There is still a lack of empathy despite having discussed the problem many times with her parents, she said.

She burst into tears in front of a large crowd at the event.

She thought it was fortunate schools reopened and she could interact more with friends during her peak period of stress, which caused things to gradually improve.

Many students find themselves in a similar situation after spending a long period of time at home learning online due of Covid.

According to Do Tran Phuong Anh, a psychologist for the project ‘Research On Prevention Of Teen Suicide Risk,’ prolonged remote learning could have a significant impact on students' psychology.

She pointed out that while introverts were able to adapt quickly to staying at home, extroverted students were deeply affected by the lack of communication.

According to a Ministry of Education and Training report based on a survey of 341,830 students across the country, 45 percent had health problems during the period, including psychological and mental health problems after switching to online learning.

Le Thi Thao, deputy head of the National Hotline on Child Protection 111, said on the sidelines of the open forum that during the pandemic the hotline frequently received calls from students inquiring about mental health disorders.

Before Covid it only received 400,000 calls a year from school-age students seeking counseling, but this number has increased by half since then, she said.

"There are children who call the hotline in tears. A brave child also shared his story but did not provide personal information because he just simply wanted to have a safe place to express his feelings and concerns."

Le Thi Thao, deputy head of the National Hotline on Child Protection 111, at the open forum ‘Dieu Em Muon Noi’ (The Things I Want To Say) in Hanoi on May 17, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Tam

Le Thi Thao, deputy head of the National Hotline on Child Protection 111, at the open forum on ‘Dieu Em Muon Noi’ (The Things I Want To Say) held in Hanoi on May 17, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Tam

She said many students calling the hotline do not have supportive parents, who are often busy and lack knowledge about child psychology.

As a result many students seek help outside their families, she said.

However, there are not enough resources to assist students with mental health issues, she said, pointing out that staff available at the 111 hotline is insufficient to support all students who are experiencing difficulties.

Many children even contact and share their stories in the hotline’s online community groups, but its staff could only respond to students one by one over phone, she said.

School-based activities to psychologically support students have recently improved, and some schools now have a school counselor. But Thao said these counseling sessions are frequently overcrowded, particularly in public schools where there are only one or two psychologists for thousands of students.

She stressed that families and schools are still the closest to children, and said parents must learn to recognize issues concerning their children's mental health in a timely manner.

Furthermore, schools must organize forums tailored to each risk group, such as those on learning pressure for ninth graders, transition from primary to secondary school for sixth graders and changes in psychophysiology for students in grades seven and eight, she said.

Students must be free to discuss their issues and seek advice from teachers and experts, she added.

VnExpress Hope Foundation's program "Computers for Students" aims to provide tablets, laptops and computers for 3,300 students in circumstances, helping them with access to online education. For more information, kindly refer to this link.

 
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