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24th January 2019

Australian survey discovers foreign students face greater risk of suicide

Foreign students are at greater risk of mental health difficulties than their domestic counterparts, according to new research
Australian survey discovers foreign students face greater risk of suicide
Photo: University of Leeds

An Australian study has shown that foreign students are more likely to commit suicide than their domestic classmates, with the Australian state of Victoria seeing as many as six international students taking their lives every year.

The study was published by the Coroners Court of Victoria after 24-year-old Chinese University of Melbourne student Zhikai Liu took his own life in 2016.

It was revealed that some family members were aware of the fact that Mr Liu had been experiencing suicidal thoughts, a result of depression allegedly stemming from difficulties with language and university studies.

Struggling to cope with their workload in addition to money management concerns were two main factors that appeared to affect oversees students more than those studying in their home country. Furthermore, it was also stated that Asian males who are under 25 and studying at university were said to be at the highest level of risk.

Dr Benjamin Veness, from Melbourne, stated that he felt as though greater awareness and understanding of ‘red flags’ needed to be brought to the attention of the friends and families of international students as well as the students themselves. He also stated that many international students were hesitant to reach out to existing mental health services over concerns that their families may be contacted in addition to their own limited knowledge of the support that is available to them.

The Australian Department of Education and Training was urged to pursue methods which would help students from abroad who required access to mental health support facilities to receive the correct assistance. In addition, the coroner also requested for education institutions to share more information about the deaths of international students with each other in order to gain a wider understanding of the issue.

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