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Increase in suicide following an initial decline during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

Increase in suicide following an initial decline during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan There is increasing concern that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could harm psychological health and exacerbate suicide risk. Here, based on month-level records of suicides covering the entire Japanese population in 1,848 administrative units, we assessed whether suicide mortality changed during the pandemic. Using difference-in-difference estimation, we found that monthly suicide rates declined by 14% during the first 5 months of the pandemic (February to June 2020). This could be due to a number of complex reasons, including the government’s generous subsidies, reduced working hours and school closure. By contrast, monthly suicide rates increased by 16% during the second wave (July to October 2020), with a larger increase among females (37%) and children and adolescents (49%). Although adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may remain in the long term, its modifiers (such as government subsidies) may not be sustained. Thus, effective suicide prevention—particularly among vulnerable populations—should be an important public health consideration. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nature Human Behaviour Springer Journals

Increase in suicide following an initial decline during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

Nature Human Behaviour , Volume 5 (2) – Jan 15, 2021

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References (70)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited 2021
eISSN
2397-3374
DOI
10.1038/s41562-020-01042-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

There is increasing concern that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could harm psychological health and exacerbate suicide risk. Here, based on month-level records of suicides covering the entire Japanese population in 1,848 administrative units, we assessed whether suicide mortality changed during the pandemic. Using difference-in-difference estimation, we found that monthly suicide rates declined by 14% during the first 5 months of the pandemic (February to June 2020). This could be due to a number of complex reasons, including the government’s generous subsidies, reduced working hours and school closure. By contrast, monthly suicide rates increased by 16% during the second wave (July to October 2020), with a larger increase among females (37%) and children and adolescents (49%). Although adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may remain in the long term, its modifiers (such as government subsidies) may not be sustained. Thus, effective suicide prevention—particularly among vulnerable populations—should be an important public health consideration.

Journal

Nature Human BehaviourSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 15, 2021

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