Nearly half of respondents of a survey released yesterday said they had experienced stress due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan.
The survey was conducted by the National Suicide Prevention Center and the Taiwanese Society of Suicidology.
The survey asked 2,219 people aged 15 or older whether the virus had affected them emotionally; 45.4 percent said that they had felt stressed over the past month, society director Lee Ming-been (李明濱) told a news conference.
The COVID-19 pandemic had placed 30.8 percent of respondents under financial pressure, up 7.4 points from last year, while 29.8 percent felt stress in daily life due to the pandemic, up 5 points from last year.
Lee urged those stressed by the pandemic not to ignore its emotional effects and seek medical help, as long-term stress can have adverse effects.
Last year, there were 40,432 reports of suicide attempts, Lee said, citing government data.
The rate of death by suicide has fallen each year since 2006, dropping out of the top 10 causes of death in Taiwan, he said.
Last year, 3,656 people killed themselves, down 17 percent from 2006, he added.
However, suicide has increased among those aged 14 or younger and those aged 75 or older, taking the lives of 11 more young people and 29 more elderly people than in 2019, he said.
Lee attributed the increase in suicide among young people to relationship problems, mental health issues and school bullying, saying that government agencies and schools should focus on these problems.
About 13 percent of respondents, or an estimated 2.64 million people, reported having had suicidal thoughts at least once in their lives, while 2 percent, or an estimated 408,000 people, reported having seriously considered suicide in the past year, the results showed.
Lee called on people to reach out to those who need help and refer them to specialists for counseling or treatment.
Those in need of counseling or assistance can call the 1995, 1980 or 1925 hotlines for help.
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