CORONAVIRUS/Nearly half Taiwanese have experienced stress due to COVID-19: survey

In a survey released Sunday nearly half of respondents in Taiwan reported experiencing stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Suicide Prevention Center.

The survey, released by the center and the Taiwanese Society of Suicidology (TSOS), asked 2,219 respondents age 15 and over whether the pandemic has affected them emotionally, and 45.4 percent said thy had felt stressed over the past month, TSOS director Lee Ming-been (???) said during a press event.

Meanwhile, 30.8 percent of respondents said they were under financial pressure due to the coronavirus disease, while 29.8 percent said they feel stress in daily life as a result of the pandemic, Lee said.

These figures represent a rise of 7.4 percentage points and 5 percentage points, respectively, compared with the results of the same survey conducted last year, he added.

Lee called on those who feel stressed during the pandemic not to ignore the emotional problems caused by the coronavirus disease because of the adverse effects of long term stress and if necessary to seek medical attention.

During Sunday's press conference, Lee said government data shows there were 40,432 reports of attempted suicide in 2020, based on people being taken to hospitals after such events.

The death rate from suicides in Taiwan has declined annually since 2006, as a result of which it dropped out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the nation in 2010, he said.

In 2006, 4,406 people killed themselves, while 3,656 people did so in 2020, a 17 percent drop.

However, the number of young people, defined as those aged 14 and under, and the number of elderly people 75 and above, who killed themselves rose by 11 cases and 29 cases, respectively, in 2020, compared with 2019.

Lee attributed the significant increase in suicide among young people of that age to relationship problems, mental issues and school bullying, saying that those areas require greater attention from government agencies and schools.

Meanwhile, about 13 percent of respondents -- or an estimated 2.64 million people in Taiwan -- reported having had suicidal thoughts at least once in their lifetime, and 2 percent -- or about 408,000 people -- to have seriously considered suicide in the past year, the survey found.

Lee called on more people to become suicide prevention gatekeepers by caring for people who need help and referring them to specialists for counseling or treatment.

Those in need of counseling or assistance can call the 1995, 1980, or 1925 hotlines for help.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel