The number of suicides in Japan in October was higher than the number of deaths caused by covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. According to official government data, 2153 suicides were recorded last month, and the number of deaths due to the new coronavirus reached 2087 last Friday.
The number of suicides in October was the highest monthly number in more than five years, with the highest increase being recorded among women. In October of last year, there were 466 cases of suicide among women and this year there have so far been 851. An increase of almost 83%, compared to the 22% increase among men (from 1073 to 1302).
We haven’t even had a lockdown and the impact of covid-19 is very small compared to other countries, but we still see a big increase in the number of suicides. This suggests that other countries may see a similar or even greater increase in the future.Michiko Ueda, Professor at Waseda University
Women will have been particularly affected by the loss of income due to the pandemic, with the industries most affected being tourism and catering, which typically employ more women, and there was also pressure to keep their children at home after schools closed.
Preliminary data indicate that the greatest increase is among young people under 29: suicide is the leading cause of death in Japan for people between the ages of 15 and 34. Japan is one of the few countries that publishes monthly data on suicides. This may help other countries realize the impact that measures in response to the covid-19 pandemic can have on mental health.