The changes of suicidal ideation status among young people in Hong Kong during COVID-19: A longitudinal survey

Shimin ZHU, Yanqiong ZHUANG, Paul LEE, Paul W.C. WONG

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background:: Pandemics affect the physical and mental well-being of all potentially at-risk young people globally. This longitudinal study examines changes of suicidal ideation status among adolescents during COVID-19. Method:: A follow-up after nine-months of a school-based survey among 1,491 secondary school students was conducted during COVID-19. Psychological well-being, psychological factors, family support, and COVID-19-related experiences were examined. Results:: The prevalence of suicidal ideation were 24% and 21% among the participants before and during COVID-19, respectively. In particular, 897 (65.0%) remained non-suicidal, 193 (14.0%) recovered from being suicidal, 148 (10.7%) newly reported being suicidal, and 143 (10.4%) remained suicidal. Respondents who remained suicidal were found to have significantly higher depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, and social anxiety, fixed mind-set, lower meaning of life and self-control; and lower parental support and supervision than the other three groups. Participants with suicidal ideation reported more negative perceptions about COVID-19 than non-suicidal participants. Multinomial logistic regression showed that anxiety, trait anxiety and life satisfactory in baseline were associated with suicidal ideation at follow-up. Limitation:: This study was limited by the small number of protective variables being included in the baseline survey to examine the potential reasons for the recovery of suicidal ideation at follow-up. Conclusion:: Poor psychological well-being, lower level of family support, and negative impacts of the pandemic were consistently associated with students’ presence of suicidal ideation during the pandemic. Further intervention studies are needed to examine effects of mental health consequences of COVID-19 on youth mental health and to promote positive youth well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Secondary school students
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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