About the editorial “Preventing youth suicides” in the Sept. 18 edition, it is frustrating that there are many schoolchildren suffering from bullying, and some of them are ending up having suicidal thoughts.

Further, it is problematic that even though a psychological test showed that the student in Nagoya who killed himself was depressed and in need of help, the school could not prevent his suicide.

In my experience, students constantly took such psychological tests. However, I never saw where the results helped resolve any student issues or even drew the concern of teachers. Moreover, I do not believe my parents even knew about the test.

What is the purpose of a psychological test when schools do not act on the results? The answer might be that the tests are conducted merely as a matter of routine because schools have been doing it for a long time or just because it is in the rule book.

Even though “suicides by teenagers are often not accompanied by advance signs,” results of a psychological test showing change in a student would be one significant sign.

Providing “avenues of communication where they can express signals of distress,” as the editorial says, sounds very important for children. However, there have been telephone counseling services available for children for a long time. Unfortunately, suicides by children continue to occur.

There is a well-established home-schooling system in the U.S., and it is very beneficial for students to make their own choices on their education. Maybe home-schooling would help resolve the suicide problem in Japan.

Kazumi Kato

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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