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Why Suicide Rates Among Japanese Women Rose During the Pandemic

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has taken a mental toll on people all over the world. In Japan, however, this mental toll has shown its worst effects on women. Suicide rates among Japanese women have risen significantly during the pandemic.

Suicide rates among women actually rose 15% from the previous year. According to the BBC, “female suicide rates in Japan went up by more than 70%, compared with the same month in the previous year.”

Why is this happening?

There are a multitude of ways the pandemic has taken a toll on women’s mental health. It can be attributed to a number of troubling effects that come with the pandemic and being in quarantine.

All over the world, women have lost a disproportionate amount of jobs in comparison to men. This loss of income and for some, loss of purpose can be extremely damaging to many.

In addition, according to the New York Times, around one in five women live alone in Tokyo. With strict social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, the feeling of loneliness is not uncommon for people who live by themselves. Just like the United States, people are urged to refrain from socializing and visiting loved ones.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, women around the world have also been dealing with the Shadow Pandemic, or an increase in violence against women since public health measures and stay-at-home guidelines have gone into effect.

Some women have been feeling increased pressures balancing childcare and maintaining their careers from home, taking the “disproportionate burden” of domestic duties, according to a New York Times article. The article also notes how Japanese men take on fewer hours of domestic responsibilities, including housework and childcare, than in any of the world’s wealthiest nations.  

In Japan, there’s also a culture of stigmatization around mental illness. These issues are seen by many as “shameful”, and many choose to hide their struggles since they don’t feel comfortable enough reaching out for help.

These alarming figures of women suicide rates in Japan have worried many experts who fear that other countries could see similar statistics as the pandemic ensues.

Photo by Anthony Tran via Unsplash

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