July 25, 2005
China facing epidemic of suicide, depression
BEIJING (Reuters) - Suicide is the number one cause of
death among people between 20 and 35 years old in China, where
an estimated quarter of a million people a year -- or 685 a day
-- take their lives, state media said on Monday.
Each year an additional 2.5 million to 3.5 million Chinese
unsuccessfully attempt suicide, which stood as the fifth major
cause of death among the country's 1.3 billion people, the
China Daily said.
young people appear to be a direct result of increasing stress
in China's rapidly changing society.
"Society is full of pressure and competition, so young
people, lacking experience in dealing with difficulties, tend
to get depressed," Liu Hong, a Beijing psychiatrist, was quoted
More than 60 percent of people who took part in a survey of
15,431 Chinese suffering depression over the past two years
were in their 20s or 30s, the newspaper said.
The escalating problem had drawn increasing concern from
the government and public alike, leading to the creation of a
national, 24-hour free suicide prevention hotline in August
Since then, more than 220,000 people had called the number,
though Canadian Michael Phillips, executive director of the
Beijing Suicide Research and Prevention Center, said only one
in 10 callers could get through on the first try.
"That is very dangerous because most of the callers are
anxious and may commit suicide impulsively," Phillips was
quoted as saying.
Lung cancer and traffic accidents are the biggest causes of
death in China.