COVID-19 toll: Japan's suicide rate rises after a decade of decline
The suicide rate in Japan grew for the first time after declining for ten straight years, as the stress brought by the pandemic exerted more pressure on the country’s citizens, particularly women.
Reuters reported that recent police data showed 20,919 committed suicide last year, which was 750 more than the previous year.
Based on data, the growth in cases particularly came from women, although men still had the higher nominal number.
There were 13,943 men who took their lives, down 1%, while the number was 6,976 for women, which was up 14.5%.
“The painful trend of rising suicides by women has continued,” a Health Ministry official said as reported by Reuters.
“Suicides are the result of many different things, but I think one thing we can definitely say is that there was an impact from the coronavirus on economic and lifestyle factors.”
The suicide rate reportedly started to grow in July 2020. From July to October of 2020, the suicide rate rose 16%, compared to a 14% decline from February to June according to a study fromt he Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.
“Unlike normal economic circumstances, this pandemic disproportionately affects the psychological health of children, adolescents and females (especially housewives),” the authors of the study said.
The stigma of getting psychological help in Japan has been an issue that the government has been trying to address as suicide traces a long history in the country.
If you or anyone you know needs help, there is no shame in seeking support. Here are a few numbers you may call:
National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline
DOH suicide prevention hotlines: