09/11/2007, 00.00
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Only in China is the suicide rate higher in women

Every year some 287,000 people commit suicide, 58 per cent women, especially in rural areas. Depression and isolation are main causes. Till recently government did little.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China is the only country in the world where suicides among women outnumber those of men, with rural suicides more common than those in the city. Family disputes, low-educational levels and restricted social communication top the list of causes.

Recent statistics show that more than 287,000 people (an average size provincial city) end their own lives every year on the Chinese mainland, 58 per cent women.

China is also one of the few countries where rural suicides outnumber urban suicides, according to Yang Fude, vice-president of Beijing Hui Long Guan Hospital, with pesticide as one of the preferred means of choice.

More telephone hotline and counselling facilities might reduce the number of suicide, especially in the countryside, said Zhan Chunyun, dean of the Guangzhou-based Kangning Psychology Hotline.

Until the recently the central authorities paid little attention to the issue. Currently, the country has just 19 professional suicide intervention institutes registered nationwide.

Stress and depression caused up to 80 percent of suicide attempts, with many choosing to jump off buildings

Though suicide ranks fifth after cerebrovascular diseases (such as a stroke), bronchitis, chronic emphysema, liver cancer and pneumonia, it is the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 34.

Psychological and physical problems associated with isolation are main cause of suicide among senior citizens.

A two-year survey by researchers at Peking University found over 20 per cent of 140,000 high-school students interviewed said they had considered committing suicide. And 6.5 percent of the students surveyed said they had made plans to kill themselves.

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