At least 2,153 people committed suicide in Japan in the month of October while the total number of deaths from COVID-19 is 2,087, according to the latest statistics shared by the government of Japan. As per Japan’s National Police Agency data, the number of suicide cases increased to 2,153 in October from 1,805 in September.
The data also revealed that COVID-19 has taken a disproportionately higher toll on women than men. Suicide among women increased by almost 83% last month compared to the same month the previous year. In comparison, male suicides rose by approximately 22% over the same time period.
Layoffs, social isolation and anxiety triggered by the pandemic are said be the key causes behind the surge in suicide rate.
Japan is one of the few developed countries that release suicide data frequently and has the world’s second-highest suicide rate after South Korea but the suicide rate in the country was declining until the pandemic.
Unlike, most countries impact of COVID-19 has not been very severe in Japan but the country’s existing mental health crisis has been made worse because of the pandemic.
Earlier this year, the United Nations issued a warning that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could create a global mental health crisis. According to a survey conducted by World Health Organisation, the demand for mental health services has increased worldwide. The survey also revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% countries.
Meanwhile, WHO has also recommended all adults to do a minimum of 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, even more, for well-being and mental health in the COVID-19 era. It has also recommended children and adolescents to include an average of one hour of daily physical exercise into their routines and limit time in front of electronic screens.
People of all ages must compensate for growing sedentary behaviour with physical activity to ward off disease and add years to their lives, it added.