The number of suicides rose in Japan in August due to more women and school-aged children taking their own lives — offering a first glimpse into the consequences of the mental health strain brought about by COVID-19 around the globe.
Japan is among a few major economies that releases timely data on suicides as it is a persistent societal issue. The numbers hint at what may be going on around the world as countries grapple with the fallout from mass unemployment and social isolation that’s impacting certain groups of people more than the rest.
Sociologists have long warned that the economic and social disruption wrought by measures to contain the coronavirus could cause more deaths than the pathogen itself. In Japan, the suicide rate has been falling but it remains a top cause of premature deaths — this year, suicide has taken over 13,000 lives, while total COVID-19 fatalities number less than 2,000.