Follow-Up to 1st Nationwide Large-Scale Suicide Awareness Survey of More than 40,000 PeopleReport on The Nippon Foundation’s 2nd suicide awareness survey released

The Nippon Foundation has announced the results of its second large-scale suicide awareness survey, which was sent as a follow-up to the more than 40,000 people representing all of Japan’s 47 prefectures who responded to the Foundation’s first suicide awareness survey, carried out in 2016 to coincide with the World Health Organization’s World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

There were 21,321 suicides in Japan in 2017. This number had grown rapidly, surpassing 30,000 in 1998, but has decreased every year since 2010. Nevertheless, Japan’s suicide rate still stands out among G7 countries, and in particular, Japan is the only one of these countries where suicide is the No. 1 cause of death among young people aged 15 to 39. The situation remains serious and requires even stronger countermeasures.

In response, The Nippon Foundation has enlisted the cooperation of researchers and professionals engaged in suicide prevention to carry out surveys of suicide awareness. The purpose of this second survey was to identify changes that have occurred since the time of the 2016 survey, and by analyzing the results of the two surveys together, to determine the factors that lead to suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides. We plan to conduct further follow-up surveys, and are releasing the results of this second survey as an interim report.

Overview of The Nippon Foundation’s 2nd Suicide Awareness Survey

Objective To identify the situation with regard to suicide awareness in Japan
Surveying organization The Nippon Foundation
Dates of survey July 28-31, 2017
Survey method and scope Internet survey (of registered respondents); Men and women age 20 and over, representing all 47 of Japan’s prefectures; 21,142 valid responses received; 53 questions.

11 Facts Identified in the 2nd Survey

  1. Of the respondents who were seriously considering suicide at the time of the previous survey, two out of three continue to seriously consider suicide.
  2. More than half of the respondents who had attempted suicide at the time of the previous survey have made subsequent attempts.
  3. The primary set of reasons for suicidal thoughts or attempted suicides has shifted, to primarily “problems at home, health problems, financial difficulties” (from “health problems, problems at home, financial difficulties”).
  4. Having a chronic illness or disease continues to be a major reason for having suicidal thoughts.
  5. “Problems at home” is a main reason for persons having suicidal thoughts, and the resolution of those problems is a main reason for persons no longer having suicidal thoughts.
  6. As the degree to which someone wants to continue living where they currently live increases, suicidal thoughts decrease.
  7. Getting sufficient sleep is important for curtailing suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides.
  8. The risk of suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides is high among young people aged 15 to 39.
  9. Having someone close to a person commit suicide can induce suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides.
  10. Suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides can lead to an increase in negative life events.
  11. The gaps in awareness of suicide prevention measures and hotlines among prefectures are close to 20%.

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