280,000 suicides in China each year

By Li Jingrong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 6, 2013
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About 280,000 people, 80 percent of them from rural areas, commit suicide in China each year, the Farmers' Daily reported July 4.

The report also found that women commit suicide 25 percent more often than men, and that most people who commit suicide are either young (15-34 years old) or over the age of 60.

In March 2012, China's population of citizens over 60 reached 185 million. 30 percent of China's senior citizens are "empty nesters" who live far away from their adult children. Lack of spiritual comfort, anxiety, loneliness, sense of loss and depression in these empty nest families are cited as the main reasons for suicides among the elderly. Younger people who committed suicide were more likely to do so because of disease, emotional disputes, marriage difficulties and poverty, according to the newspaper.

Since 2000, Jia Shuhua, a professor and expert in psychiatry with Dalian Medical University, has worked with a team to survey suicides among Chinese rural families. Most of those surveyed people were from villages in Dalian of Liaoning Province, Jia's hometown.

"90 percent of [those who committed suicide in the region] had never sought any help, and almost all the suicide families got zero relief fund from the government," Jia said in an interview with the Southern Daily. "My original intention for the survey was to let the society take notice of the high suicide rate in the country’s rural areas, and then help those suicide families mired in difficulties."

The survey found that half of the suicides by rural women were likely related to family and marriage disputes, and that rural women who kill themselves most often drink pesticide to end their lives. "Instead of hanging themselves like in the past, rural suicides now choose cheap pesticides which can easily be found in local markets or shops."

Jia also said that China's social insurance system shared the blame for some rural suicides. "China has entered a period of social transformation and urbanization which has brought major impacts on rural areas," said Jia. "Many suicides are related to the social changes and the phenomenon has become a big social problem."

A global medical research report conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 showed that, there were about 1 million suicides in the world each year, with about one third of them in China. Suicide ranked fifth among causes of death in China, according to the WHO report.

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