Suicides up among young people, down among seniors

According to a government study released yesterday, the suicide rate among people under 20 rose by 0.3 per cent last year. The number of suicides among all age groups dropped by 3.2 per cent. 2020 saw an increase caused by the pandemic. Among young people, the top cause of suicide is school problems; among adults, health problems.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A government white paper released yesterday shows that suicide among young people in Japan is up. By contrast, the trend is downward for seniors and all age groups.

The study found that the number of people who died by suicide per population of 100,000 reached 3.1 for those under 20 in Japan in 2019, rising 0.3 percentage point from the previous year to hit a record high.

The suicide rate for all age groups dropped instead to 16.0, the lowest level on record dating back to 1978.

The total number of people who took their own lives in 2019 declined by 671, or 3.2 per cent, to a record low of 20,169, which is still relatively high compared with other advanced economies.

The annual report for 2019 does not reflect the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates. A survey by Japan’s Health Ministry found that the number of suicide cases increased year on year in three months from July this year.

For young people, problems at school are the main reason for taking their lives, followed by health issues and family troubles.

Among adults over 20, the most common causes are health, financial problems and debt. For women, family problems come first, including troubled marital relationships.