Japan has seen an unprecedented surge in suicides amongst women during the pandemic with more than 800 women taking their lives in October alone. Traditionally Viewed as a problem amongst men, the country is now struggling to respond to the crisis. (women in JAPAN)
Nazuna Hashimoto (Suicide – attempt survior)
When the pandemic started, I began having panic attacks. I was already unstable, to begin with, but society as a whole was already engulfed with anxiety.
When was the toughest time for you?
Last July, I attempted suicide. A little while after my attempt, I heard a lot of people coming up the stairs. Those were the footsteps of the paramedics. When I came to my senses, I was on the [stectcher].
I’d feel like I was suffocating. Just stepping out of my home and hearing people talk, or even the sound of cars or motorcycles, I’d tear up just hearing the sounds.
|Up to this point, suicide prevention in Japan. Focused on bringing down the number of male suicides. Most of them lost their jobs. About 30% of the attendees were evicted or homeless. Around half of them didn’t have working cellphones. Many of them hadn’t eaten for days.|
– Masao Yoshizaki (Program Director, A – Plus)
Have you received government support, and do you think it’s enough?
It’s not enough. The support that was offered couldn’t be found unless you looked for it. For someone who’s single, you’d think there’d be support for them. But it’s really hard to find something. -Name Withheld (A – Plus event attendee)
How has the pandemic exacerbated this issue for women?
‘It’s related to the employment of women. The issue is that it’s not stable. Whether they’re part-time or Irregularly employed, Young and female populations were especially affected. Suicide among these demographics increased. If the trend continues, we’re worried that [suicides] will increase.’
-Tetsushi Sakamoto (Japan Loneliness Minister)
‘When my depression was quite strong, I had a very negative outlook. But when I’d come to the park, I would often be thinking happy thoughts. It’s a way to get away from the stress of society. It’s an easy way to escape reality. I’m able to sense that I’m alive.’
-Nazuna Hashimoto (Suicide – attempt survivor)