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Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Japan sees a rise in suicides: Report

Mass unemployment, social isolation, and anxiety have had a significant adverse impact on people across the globe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

November 29, 2020 / 03:47 PM IST

In Japan, more people died by suicide in October than from COVID-19 in all of 2020, an indicator of the pandemic's impact on mental health.

The number of suicides in the country increased to 2,153 in October, CNN reported citing data from Japan's National Police Agency.

According to a Reuters tally, 2,115 people in the country have died so far due to COVID-19.

Across the globe, mass unemployment, social isolation, and anxiety have had a significant adverse impact on people's mental well-being, the report said.

"We didn't even have a lockdown, and the impact of COVID-19 is very minimal compared to other countries... but still we see this big increase in the number of suicides," said Michiko Ueda, an associate professor at Waseda University in Tokyo told CNN.

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"That suggests other countries might see a similar or even bigger increase in the number of suicides in the future," Ueda said.

And women have been disproportionately impacted, though more men make up the larger proportion of the total number of suicides in Japan.

The number of Japanese women who died by suicide in October rose 83 percent from the same month in 2019, as against 22 percent for men, CNN reported.

According to the report, one reason could be that more women work part-time jobs in the hotel, food service, and retail industries, which saw a large number of layoffs.

Mothers usually take the responsibility of childcare, which adds to other worries, the report added. They also often face anxiety about the health and well-being of their children.

It is interesting to note that between January and June, the number of suicides in Japan had fallen 10 percent, Deutsche Welle reported in October.

The Japanese government recently raised its annual suicide prevention budget by roughly 40 percent to 3.7 billion yen ($35 million), the report added.

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first published: Nov 29, 2020 03:47 pm