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Suicides in Japan surged due to COVID-19 pandemic


Aug 17, 2022

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Pandemic-related circumstances caused suicide rates to surge in Japan, a nation already known for its high rates of self-harm.

The spike in suicides was documented in a study conducted by the University of Tokyo, one of the most prestigious colleges in Japan.

The study found that women — and more specifically young women in their 20s — were the most affected by the pandemic.

The University of Tokyo estimated there were approximately 8,000 additional suicides due to COVID-induced mental health issues.


Japan imposed some of the strictest border controls in the world over the course of the pandemic, banning the entry of almost all non-residents and, at times, severely restricting public activities.

Throughout the pandemic, Japan resisted the use of lockdowns to limit the spread of the virus and focused on requiring eateries to close early and not serve alcohol, urging the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, as the government seeks to minimize damage to the economy.

The terrible ramifications on young people’s mental health is mirrored domestically as U.S. officials scramble to address the worsening crisis.

Nearly two-and-a-half years after COVID-19 first took the U.S. by storm, parents and doctors are speaking out on the devastating effects school shutdowns and mandates continue to have on children, including a relentless mental health crisis.

“What I’m seeing happening – particularly with younger kids – is social delays, communication issues…” family therapist Tom Kersting told “Fox & Friends First” Tuesday.

“The biggest thing I’ve seen with teenagers is a rise in anxiety disorders,” he added. Kersting said shutting children and teens out of society for more than two years is behind the decline.

Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, a pediatrician, told host Todd Piro that the U.S. has seen a “tragic” increase in mental health issues among children and teens since the dawn of the pandemic, including in-patient psychiatric treatments. 

Fox News’ Taylor Penley contributed to this report.


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