This Saturday, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day. In China, which accounts for 25 percent of all the world’s suicides, an average of 287,000 people—or one every 2 minutes—commit suicide every year, and 2,000,000 attempt suicide but are unsuccessful, according to data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicide is the 5th leading cause of death in China but it has become the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 34.
The unusually high suicide rate among Chinese youth and young adults has been attributed to intense academic and employment pressure. High school and college students, as well as young parents, are the groups suffering under the most pressure in China, a Sichuan News commentary opined in a Sept. 8 piece.
Students are stressed by a heavy academic burden, body growth, emotions, and prospects for employment, while young parents face pressure from high costs of living, their job, and their children’s education, it said. The article also attributes the high suicide rate to the current education system in China, a system that emphasizes grades and status at the expense of societal relations.
Stress can exacerbate the likelihood of depression, which is the primary cause of suicide in China, according to the Beijing Morning Post. Depression increases the risk of suicide by 6 to 10 times.
China’s suicide rate has soared 60 percent in the past 50 years and the relatively high suicide rate in China also shows a different pattern between city-dwellers and country folk: the rural rate is triple that of the urban. Seventy-five percent of suicides by Chinese take place in the countryside and about 58 percent of them are done by taking pesticides.
In addition, China is one of few countries where the women’s suicide rate is higher than the men’s. More than 150,000 women commit suicide and 1.5 million attempt suicide annually in China, Wu Xuehua, Director of the National Women’s Federation’s Rights and Wellbeing Division said.