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Some 60 percent of calls received in the past year by a mental crisis hotline set up by 11 hospitals affiliated with the labor ministry were from women, according to survey results released Wednesday.

The Labor Welfare Projects Corp., which runs the hospitals, said many calls to the hotline concerned troubles caused by the callers’ relations with colleagues or superiors.

The corporation said it was surprised to receive so many calls from women and expected to receive more calls from middle-aged men.

It said the results show that more and more people, regardless of sex or age, are having trouble at the workplace.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 12 women were awarded workers’ compensation in fiscal 2000 for mental disorders caused by their work, up from two the previous year.

Experts say women nowadays are exposed to the same kind of work-related stress as men due to the trend of equal treatment in the workplace and the prolonged recession.

The hotline, which started in April 2000, received about 3,700 calls in the survey period.

By age, 18 percent of the callers were in their 30s, 15 percent in their 50s, and 14 percent each in their 20s and 40s.

More than 1,000 calls were about personal relations within the company, and 124 about bullying at the workplace.

Some of the callers described the symptoms they suffered as “strong anxiety about the future,” “nervousness” and “irritation or mental instability.”

Among those callers, 198 said they had considered suicide.

The corporation said it will provide greater care to those workers by setting up more hotlines nationwide and individual counseling services.

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