October suicide deaths surpass total coronavirus deaths in Japan

Male suicides have increased 22% in October compared to October 2019, but rates of suicides among women have increased 83% over the same time frame.

High-rise buildings are seen at the Shinjuku business district during sunset in Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/TORU HANAI)
High-rise buildings are seen at the Shinjuku business district during sunset in Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/TORU HANAI)
The monthly number of suicides in Japan surpassed the country's total coronavirus death toll in October, according to CNN. There were 2,153 suicides in October in Japan and the country's total death toll from the pandemic is 2,087.
The downward trending number of suicides in Japan seems to have been reversed by the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported.
"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," Michiko Ueda, an associate professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, and an expert on suicides, told CNN.
"That suggests other countries might see a similar or even bigger increase in the number of suicides in the future."
The population disproportionately reflecting this reversal is women. Male suicides have increased 22% in October compared to October 2019, but rates of suicides among women have increased 83% over the same time frame, CNN reported.
Possible reasons for this include the disproportionate number of women who have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic and increasing unpaid care burdens, according to CNN.
Multiple studies have indicated that coronavirus is having profound psychological and social effects on people.
“Studies indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression and insomnia in the general population and among healthcare professionals,” according to a June 2020 report published by QJM: An International Journal of Medicine.
“Social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress and economic difficulties may lead to the development or exacerbation of depressive, anxiety, substance use and other psychiatric disorders in vulnerable populations, including individuals with pre-existing psychiatric disorders and people who reside in high COVID-19 prevalence areas.”
The same report found that the crisis may increase suicide rates during and after the pandemic.
Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.
 


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