Adult stress linked to record number of child suicides in Japan, education ministry says

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology can be seen in this file photo taken in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo on July 26, 2018 (Mainichi / Naoaki Hasegawa)

TOKYO – The number of suicides among primary, middle and high school students in Japan in the 2020 school year increased by 98 from the previous school year to 415, the highest on record, according to an investigation into problematic student behavior and refusal to attend classes by the Ministry of Education.

A representative of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said: “As in the previous school year, it is believed that the reason for most suicides lies in the housework. This is probably the result of adults directing their stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic on children. ”

The number of suicides was seven among elementary school students, up three from the previous school year, 103 among middle school students, up 12 from fiscal year 2019, and 305 among high school students, up 83 compared to the 2019 school year. The increase in suicides among high school students is particularly high.

To a multiple-response question about the causes of suicides found by school surveys, family discord was the most common reason, cited in 53 cases, followed by mental illness in 46 cases, career path problems in 44 cases and reprimands from parents and others. in 33. However, “unknown causes” accounted for 218 of the 415 cases, highlighting the difficulty of identifying the cause.

Regarding the number of suicides among children and students, it has long been pointed out that the statistical data compiled by the Ministry of Education and the National Policy Agency are inconsistent. This time, the agency reported 507 such cases, 92 more than the figure announced by the Education Ministry.

According to the ministry, some families are reluctant to disclose the suicide of their child. The representative explained: “It is difficult for a school, which does not have investigative powers, to follow up all cases.

(Japanese original by Akira Okubo, Tokyo City Information Department)

– Suicide prevention hotline in Japan with assistance in English

TELL Japan (English): https://telljp.com/

Telephone hotline: 03-5774-0992 (Every day)

Online Chat: https://telljp.com/lifeline/tell-chat/

Advice requests: 03-4550-1146 (Mon-Fri, 10 am-5pm)

A selection of emergency numbers with multilingual support is also provided at the bottom of their home page.

* The opening hours of the telephone hotline and online chat depend on the day and are subject to change. Check out the Facebook page linked below for up to date information:

https://www.facebook.com/telljapan/


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