Groups concerned about student suicides have urged Hong Kong’s chief executive to face up to the tragic problem of children and teenagers taking their own lives.

A total of 3,919 individuals and 123 civil groups have signed an online petition to urge Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to pay attention to  student suicides and carry out changes in the education system, Apple Daily reported.

Groups including the Civil Alliance for Student Suicide Prevention and Parents United of Hong Kong will hold a protest on Sunday in which 74 people will walk barefoot from the Legislative Council to the chief executive’s office.

A total of 74 children and teenagers committed suicide in the past two years in Hong Kong.

The groups slammed Lam for failing to come up with any measures to  combat youth suicides since becoming the city’s chief executive in July, and only focusing on economic development in her first Policy Address, which she gave this month.

They urged the Hong Kong government to set up a cross-departmental task force to tackle student suicides and to evaluate education policy.

They also asked the government to provide funding of HK$200,000 (US$25,630) to each school for the implementation of programs to ease the pressure students are under, fully implement “rest days” – that is,  school days that have no classes and free students just to play games – and increase the number of school social workers.

The alliance will meet with Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, secretary for education, next Monday.

Read: Two students commit suicide in one day, a third boy saved

Read: Student stressed about final exams jumps to death at school