More family time, lesser interactions with toxic people
In April 2019, around 1,814 people took their lives compared with a 19.8% decrease to 1,455 in April 2020. This marks the country’s lowest suicide figure for at least the past five years. Officials believe that not going into the office, less commuting and more time with the family are factors in which the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the well-being of people.
Lockdown steps mean that work from home and have fewer interactions with authority figures – including threatening bosses, colleagues, or classmates, DailyMail reported. It has a positive impact on the mental health of people, the ministry has found, given the pressures of living through a global pandemic.
Despite the decrease in suicide in recent years, a rise has occurred among adolescents. Bullying and other problems at school are commonly cited causes. The start of the academic year, which starts in April in Japan, is an especially challenging period for some. But its postponement due to the pandemic may have saved lives, at least temporarily.
“School is a pressure for some young people, but this April there is no such pressure,” said Yukio Saito, a former telephone counseling official for the Japanese Federation of Inochi-no-Denwa. “At home with their families, they feel safe,” she told The Guardian.
As for adults, “traditionally people don’t think about suicide” during times of national turmoil and disasters, Saito said. She noted the decline in cases of suicide in 2011, the year of the massive Fukushima earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. One contributing factor in the reduced suicide rate is the significant decrease in the number of people commuting to workplaces, where they frequently work long hours and interact with toxic co-workers.