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Parents, schools asked to be on alert for potential suicidal children as summer vacation ends

15 Comments

Authorities across Japan are asking parents and schools to be on the alert for signs of stress and depression among children as the summer break ends. This is because the number of suicides among elementary, junior high school and high school students has spiked in recent years as summer vacation comes to a close.

The Japan Support Center for Suicide Countermeasures (JSSC) has analyzed suicides by 3,209 students from elementary to high school over a period of 10 years from 2006 to 2015. The highest number of suicides occurred in late August with a total number of 153 deaths, while there were 122 at the beginning of September, and 108 in mid-April at 108—after school resumes from spring break, Fuji TV reported.

Kazu Moriguchi, a researcher at JSSC, said, “In the case of junior high school and high school students, the highest motivation to commit suicide is anxiety about school life, bullying and fitting in. If parents notice that their child is not open to talking about school or appears to be suffering from troubles related to school, they should be very cautious and watchful. Teachers also need to be on the lookout for potential problems.”

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) has pointed out that these concentrated suicide numbers correlate with turning points such as progressing to the next grade. An education ministry official advised parents: “If there is something troubling about your child’s behavior, do not keep it to yourself but rather consult with various organizations.”

© Japan Today

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15 Comments
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When a kid is already showing signs that serious, the last thing the parents could do is to force them to go to school or reprimand them. Why not take some time to talk to them everyday? yes, some kids really need professional help (good luck with that) while some just needs someone to talk to. Elementary kids showing suicidal tendencies? How is that even possible? Is the educational system and social situation really that bad today?

19 ( +19 / -0 )

What a sad, pathetic state of affairs is when this has to happen.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Some of the smartest people I have met here spent a couple years or more staying home from school - they hated it. And now they are highly successful, intelligent and happy people. How can that be?

I came to the conclusion that 90% of public school is a waste of time at best. What little they learn could be read up on in a fraction of the time if they learned when they were ready rather than being forced. At worst, it's a system that crushes dreams, drive and creativity to turn out worker drones who will all be replaced by robots in a few years..

If a kid hates school, it might be a good sign. Let them stay home and encourage them to pursue their own interests.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

3,209 kids taking their own lives because of problems almost entirely related to school is a plain and simple condemnation of of the whole education system. I agree with @commanteer, the system is like a beehive that turns out nothing but workers. Beehives are known to collapse.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

You'd think, wouldn't you, that if children show suicidal tendencies on going back to school, that they would examine what they were doing wrong in school.

Japanese education needs to be scrapped and rewritten from the ground up.

And NOT by people who have graduated it.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

It’s pretty odd that they admit many kids will contemplate suicide on returning to school, but they don’t give a fat rat’s why they feel so bed about returning to school. Most Japanese junior/senior high school are closer to a prison than a school with very strict schedules, study routines and mean guards/teachers. Instead of worrying about how many kids are gonna jump off school buildings they should be worrying about why so many do.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Instead of actually caring about the students, I expect MEXT will just install locked windows and nets around junior and senior high schools instead.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Have you seen the amount of homework they get for holidays? Then they have to spend time with their salaryman father who works away from home for every two years and has massive stress.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My elementary to high school days were some of the happiest days of my life. No pressure, just attend the class and you're fine. Did it affect me in a negative way now as an adult for having a care-free education. I'd nope. I am way ahead among people my age and gender (female) in the career that I chose.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is depressing to read, school is so bad here that they have to prevent kids from killing themselves to avoid going.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No pressure, just attend the class and you're fine. Did it affect me in a negative way now as an adult for having a care-free education. I'd nope. I am way ahead among people my age and gender (female) in the career that I chose.

I suppose they didn't teach empathy at that school you attended?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let me clarify. These schools work for 2 kinds of people.

They work for those who fit neatly into structured roles in society. Anyone who thinks outside the box, anyone wth remarkable skills, is hurt.

They also work for people who can play the game. They know it's mostly unnecessary and often ridiculous, but play along until they are free to do what they want as adults. They survive the school system, but it doesn't do them any good. They learn to deal with ridiculous rules and to pretend to play the game. The school does nothing to help them achieve their potential, so the time there is wasted.

“In the case of junior high school and high school students, the highest motivation to commit suicide is anxiety about school life, bullying and fitting in. 

It's great that you never had to deal with any of the above. Many others, however, suffer - through no fault of their own. Many who suffer turn into remarkable adults, so it's not that they are lesser than you. They are simply not being served by a one size fits all system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@commanteer

Just because I didn't express my empathy verbally, doesn't mean I do not have empathy for them. My brother is one of the victims of these 'fitting-in' issue in a Japanese high school. He became a hikkikomori for many years. I fully understand the issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@haloerika Sorry, then. Your post sounded quite the opposite. I have kids in both camps, and special schools. I now sometimes wonder if I made a mistake sending my own kids to a public school even when it was working for them. Another thing in your post stood out, and maybe explains what I am thinking.

You said you were  "way ahead among people my age and gender (female) in the career that I chose."

I assume you are intelligent, hard-working and all of that - it shows. But I notice you evaluated yourself by comparing yourself with your peers of the same age and gender in the same career. That's very limiting. It implies your goals are the same as their goals, and that better than number 2 is good enough. You may have all this untapped potential that is lying dormant if you evaluate yourself in this way.

Schools really encourage this kind of thinking, unfortunately. They are built around it. Not what you can do, and how can you be the best that you can be. It's all how you compare to others. That works in some cases, otherwise how would we know who the best tennis players are, for example. But as a guide for life success, it's limiting to those at the top, and harmful to those struggling lower down.

I see the successful kids (including mine) being limited this way, and makes me wonder if the ones who are pulled out of school are sometimes better off.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Terribly sad waste of life RIP, thumbs up to most of the commenters above!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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