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Journal Article


Orui M, Saeki S, Kozakai Y, Harada S, Hayashi M. Crisis 2021; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2021, International Association for Suicide Prevention, Publisher Hogrefe Publishing)






BACKGROUND: People who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) were expected to have additional levels of psychological burden resulting from the stressful conditions imposed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic; consequently, suicide rates may increase.

AIM: We aimed to carry out continuous monitoring of suicide rates in the affected area following the GEJE under COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

METHOD: This descriptive study monitored the suicide rates of the coastal area of Miyagi Prefecture, where disaster-related mental health activities have been continuing following severe damage caused by the tsunami disaster. An exponential smoothing time-series analysis that converted suicide rates into a smooth trend was conducted.

RESULTS: Although the suicide rate in the affected area was higher than the national average in February 2020, it showed a declining trend during the COVID-19 pandemic, while showing an increase trend in the national and non-affected areas. Limitations: Uncertainty about the direct reasons for suicide and the short time-scale observation are the limitations of this study.

CONCLUSION: Although the national suicide rate increased, this was not the case for the affected area. Our findings may provide important lessons for suicide prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic, which needs careful regional monitoring of the state of suicide and of high-risk approaches such as disaster-related mental health activities.

Language: en


suicide; COVID-19; descriptive epidemiology; disaster; the Great East Japan Earthquake


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