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As teen suicides rise, 21-year-old Japanese student starts online message counseling

35 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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35 Comments
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Good man, nice to see people being proactive.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

I do hope his volunteers are screened, trained, monitored and supported themselves.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

So cool. Saving one life is exceptional saving more...that's a life well used.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

It’s a great idea and I hope it has some success in reducing the youth suicide rate in Japan. The only problem I see is, most youth suicides are spontaneous and not planned. It would be good to see the government focusing on why so many youths are killing themselves. Offering counseling is only a band aid at the end of the line. It would be more appropriate to address why so many young people are depressed and committing suicide.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

An admirable, courageous young man for struggling to find personal fulfillment while helping others. He deserves every happiness, especially the "happy family" he dreams of.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

What a terrific idea!

It's fantastic that they have people volunteering from different time zones, so that people can contact them any time at all. I have worked on similar services before in Australia - Lifeline and the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard. I would love to help with this one, but my Japanese is not nearly good enough.

These services can make a real difference and there can never be too many of them.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

For Japanese, life is a hard thing not to enjoy. People are thrown into the world of competitions from high schools. Japan has to give young people dreams, hope, chances and freedoms as well as they have to instill concept of human rights in the society. It looks people are enjoying life more in underdeveloped countries in South East Asia. I heard before that workers there do not come to work next day they received salaries. That is nice.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

a woman is killed once every three days by her partner or former partner

Oh my God!

That is crazy!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

As a parent, I would like to offer some advice:  make certain your child has enjoyable, intellectual activity during their youth (biking, hiking, sight seeing, learning foreign language) with parents; also, it's a good idea to visit a country like the U S, (where is safe, e.g. California, Northeast coast) in order see their own home in perspective (I think most Japanese are lucky to live in a place like Japan, seeing another country will make them feel more grateful) . . . make certain they have some fun, before they get to the age where they are asked to take on more responsibility.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Its nice to see someone young in this country doing something to help solve a problem. The government in this country is often unable, unwilling, or refuses to admit there is a problem. But aside from this helpline, the government does need to recognize the economic and social causes of this increase in suicides and depression instead of just worrying about GDP, North Korea and the Olympics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan has to give young people dreams, hope, chances and freedoms as well as they have to instill concept of human rights in the society.

It is told to them all day long, at schools, on TV etc. No, they commit suicide, because they were lied to all the time. You have to tell honestly what’s going on, stop telling lies. Only a very very few people will catch their dream, marry their beloved idol, get the job they want, become rich and healthy for decades, will have real chances , an astonishing career in their field, a freedom feeling and so on. Just preparing everyone for that ‘not-reaching goals’ would significantly decrease suicides, because there is no more disappointment.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's not just teens; the suicide rate in Japan crosses all age spectrums. As but a humble English teacher (though one with a background in psychology), I've found that many of my students attend simply to be listened to, a rare opportunity in this society. So I shut up and listen.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Well done!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

LagunaToday  10:36 am JST

It's not just teens; the suicide rate in Japan crosses all age spectrums. As but a humble English teacher (though one with a background in psychology), I've found that many of my students attend simply to be listened to, a rare opportunity in this society. So I shut up and listen.

That's a major problem the youth of today have to face. All around in America - in government, economics, schools, families there are too many loudmouths who think there's only way for everyone and they just will not shut up and listen to others.

What worked in the past doesn't work now because that was then and this is now. People have got to listen, we are not machines.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Private citizens filling the gov'ts responsibility. This isn't good when the gov't fails so completely at their duty, that regular people need to volunteer to provide a necessary service. Unironically depressing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Doing what the government has their head in the sand over.

If he has a donation page I would love to donate.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That's a major problem the youth of today have to face. All around in America - in government, economics, schools, families there are too many loudmouths who think there's only way for everyone and they just will not shut up and listen to others.

Starpunk, my mid-20s son moved from Kumamoto to Tokyo a few years ago and he Skypes me frequently - because I LISTEN. He does 90% of the talking and I can browse my favorite Webpages at the same time.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He looks sad...understandable.  Helping those who are depressed and suicidal is stressful.  May he look after himself and be strong each day.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good on this young man. Leave it to the children to do what the government has failed to time and again. It is a drop in the bucket, but hopefully it will help people, and those people in turn can help others.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Has the number of teen suicide been rising in Japan? This appears to be the trend not just among the teens but also the adults and elders. Are the established counselling centers doing their best to help? Apparently, it is becoming an awful global phenomenon.

This is an extraordinary difficult time that demands exceptional effort..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@oldman13

Good man, nice to see people being proactive.

you said it! Especially with an issue as terrible and personal as this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A recent OECD study found Japan ranks among the highest in the world in suffering isolation, when measuring the contact individuals have with other people.

Rather convenient these days , actually..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Jtsnose

As a parent, I would like to offer some advice: make certain your child has enjoyable, intellectual activity during their youth (biking, hiking, sight seeing, learning foreign language) with parents; also, it's a good idea to visit a country like the U S, (where is safe, e.g. California, Northeast coast) in order see their own home in perspective (I think most Japanese are lucky to live in a place like Japan, seeing another country will make them feel more grateful) . . . make certain they have some fun, before they get to the age where they are asked to take on more responsibility.

I agree with everything that you said. And about the second part of what you said, I’m from the US, and I’m trying to move to Japan. However, especially with this pandemic, steady work doesn’t come easy. I say this, because I’m looking to get into a vocational school, but since that’s a two year thing, I have to work for that, plus however long it will take me to save up to apply to said school. And you were right on in terms of how lucky people actually have in Japan compared to US. Believe me, I know.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If he has a donation page I would love to donate.

I just hope this isn't just another financial scheme on top of people's suffering

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Jtsnose

And that first part, about your parental advice in general, those are all very good points. A lot of that stuff is not practiced by a lot of parents, and I won’t get into the details, but I know a lot of parents who are like that unfortunately.

I also know a lot of parents who do know better, and I try to keep in close contact with them. Because if and when I have kids myself, I want to go down the latter route, and I know that these people will help guide me there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Private citizens filling the gov'ts responsibility. This isn't good when the gov't fails so completely at their duty, that regular people need to volunteer to provide a necessary service. Unironically depressing.

Sure, but isn't it sad that most people feel they need to be paid to do something or to help society? Lets face it, when the government gets involved, its going to be hiring retired elderly folk who might not have what it takes to be an effective councilor. Perhaps this volunteer service is much better than something the government could put together. That said, young people might not have what it takes to help an elderly or middle aged person out. Regardless, this kid is doing a great service.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everything starts at home.

Family.Education.

Care from parents.

Time for talk.

Time to be together as family.Talk together,laugh together,share sorrw/stress together,eat together.Enjoy life together.

As father of 3 kids born in Japan I see often friends and classmates of my kids are missing basic things kids need to get-real love,real care.They have no idea abt how childhood looks like.They cant imagine life different than vicious circle-school-juku-after school activies and so on.

These kids have no idea what does it means parents love.

Parents love is non existing as parents are busy to work,pay bills and invest in kids schooling,juku and brand clothes/games with feeling that they do their best.

They are wrong.

No playstation,iphone,ipad,computer,best possible schooling/juku,most expensive clothes can be equal to parents love.

Kids are stressed,have no real childhood and when they comes to age they are like robots without real feelings,real opnions,real courage do things own way,without any plans for future...and sometimes it may end in suicide,drugs,alcohol or mania from computer games or pachinko...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The only problem I see is, most youth suicides are spontaneous and not planned

How can you know that? Not judging, just curious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@vanityofvanities: I was born, raised and spent some years working in Southeast Asia (Philippines) and I can tell you that the work-related stress levels back home is a far cry from how tough working in Japan is. But I can also tell you that basic services such as public transport, utilities, the weather and things that fall under "third-world problems" are quite prevalent there but the people are kinder and more considerate so you don't feel the strain as much.

If Anata no Ibasho is looking for English-speaking volunteers, I'd sure love to sign up. Sometimes having a complete stranger to pour out your bottled up grievances and pains is enough to give someone enough strength to go on with their lives. I'm blessed to have been raised from a loving family and a warm community, I want to give back to those that need comfort in rough patches in their lives. If Japanese society weren't as uptight and its people more willing to help out others, there wouldn't be much need for support groups in the first place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if Japan's high suicide rate is a recent phenomenon or has persisted over the ages. Tokyo in spite of having so many people can be extremely isolating because everyone puts up a huge barrier to interaction. Today I was sitting in a large park in Tokyo on a secluded bench and a very old man, maybe 80, came and sat right next to me, and I acknowledged him and said hi. I wonder if he is just lonely or curious.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I applaud this fine young man dedication to such a noble cause,how I wish more youth around his age would be so careless to the others.

But this is something that the central government should fight at first,for example reducing all the rigid protocols and pressure on students but to the general society of this island nation in general.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sure, but isn't it sad that most people feel they need to be paid to do something or to help society?

This would be a good example of where a Universal Basic Income would support volunteer efforts that would benefit society

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is he certified to counsel people about suicide? I thought that was a psychiatrist job. But anyhow good to know people out there that cares and trying to make a difference. Kudos to this guy!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great !!.. Fight, Fight, Fight !!..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LagunaOct. 26  11:36 am JST

*That's a major problem the youth of today have to face. All around in America - in government, economics, schools, families there are too many loudmouths who think there's only way for everyone and they just will not shut up and listen to others.*

Starpunk, my mid-20s son moved from Kumamoto to Tokyo a few years ago and he Skypes me frequently - because I LISTEN. He does 90% of the talking and I can browse my favorite Webpages at the same time.

Glad you do. Sometimes that's all a person needs. At the university where I got my degree we had 'Listening Posts'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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