To help turn the tide against suicide, a volunteer group of Buddhist priests, both men and women, writes letters to distraught people to help keep them from taking their own lives.

People considering suicide "write to us because they want to live," said Yusen Maeda, a 43-year-old priest of the Soto sect. "So we write back by hand, saying in our mind 'We want you to live. Don't worry by yourself.' "

The group was founded in 2007 and now receives an average of 60 letters per month from people in trouble.