The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports that the number of child suicides in the fiscal year of 2016-17 was the highest in Japan since 1986.
According to the report, 250 children up to high school age took their lives during the year, which was five more than the previous year. The majority of the suicide victims were high school age.
Japan has long been known as a country in which suicide rates have been shockingly high. In 2003, the amount of suicides was at 34,500; it has since decreased significantly to being at 21,000 in 2017.
According to CNN, ministry official Noriaki Kitazaki stated that the cause of the rise was unclear: “The number of suicides of students have stayed high, and that is an alarming issue which should be tackled.”
A previous report from 2015 showed that suicides increased exponentially on September 1, traditionally the first day of the new school year, which signifies for many a return to an unpleasant environment. “When summer ends, you have to go back,” a 17-year old student told CNN, sharing her story for their report. “And once you start worrying about getting bullied, committing suicide might be possible.”
This torrid history of suicide in Japan has often been the subject of documentation; its “Suicide Forest,” Aokigahara, is a particular site famous for this and famous for being the subject of a controversial Logan Paul video in late 2017.
If you or your loved ones are potentially at risk of suicide, make use of resources available to you. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list provided by Instagram outlining resources across the world.