According to Japan’s Health Ministry, female suicide increased by 80% as compared to this time last year. Job insecurity and isolation during the pandemic is thought to be behind the horrific numbers. A survey conducted by Waseda University in Tokyo found one-third of women under 40 years of age, lost their jobs, and experienced significant cuts to their income, compared to just 18% of men.
This year, the country has recorded more than 17,000 suicides, with a third of those deaths being women. The month of October marked more than four consecutive months of increased suicide rates.
Founder of an online counseling service Anata no Ibasho or “Your Place” in Japan, Koki Ozora told CBS News the biggest reason women are committing suicide was that they “are losing work and don’t know how to support themselves and families.” His service has received more than 300,000 messages from about 26,000 clients in Japan.
Women have not only been disproportionately affected by job and income losses, but they have also taken on most of the domestic work, child-rearing responsibilities, and have experienced domestic violence.
The pandemic has produced a mental health crisis for the country. The government invested $24 million in suicide prevention last spring but added another $10 million this summer to address the issue.
If you or anyone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please help yourself to these resources:
The Realist Woman’s take:
This news is beyond alarming. Where are the support systems in place to help women economically? Women have always taken on more responsibility in the home and work outside of the home. This pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. If women had more equality in the workplace, job security, and security nets in place to help the public in general during a crisis, I don’t think these statistics would be anywhere near where they are.
It’s a tragic situation and while the government has invested in suicide prevention, people continue to struggle with their mental health. This government, and many others, really need to consider mental health just as important as physical health is.