Preventing Teen Suicide: Schools Target Asian Parental Expectations
A growing dialogue within Asian communities is playing out in many of the Bay Area’s high-performing school districts, but the challenge of easing student pressure is also raising tensions and even a backlash from parents and highly motivated students — who worry reforms might dumb down learning.
California’s Asian teen suicide rate has fluctuated over the years, but through 2013 — the latest figures available — generally remained below the rate of white teens. Educators and doctors, however, say the signs of stress are disturbing . . . College-bound students show high levels of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior such as cutting, eating disorders and suicide ideation. In addition to Palo Alto, Asian youths in recent years have killed themselves in San Jose, Fremont and in Contra Costa County. It’s been a call to action.
The challenge, mental health experts say, is to preserve high parental expectations but temper them with reality — the recognition that getting into a Harvard or a Stanford is partly like a lottery and not a measure of worth — and concern for their children’s well-being.