Suicides in Taiwan increased by 5.6% last year, reaching a three-year high, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The data revealed that suicide rose to the 12th leading cause of death for the general population last year, with 16.2 deaths for every 100,000 people. Notably, the rates of suicidal death for the age groups of 15-24 and 65 and above have returned to pre-pandemic levels. For those aged 15-24 and 24-44, suicide became the second leading cause of death.

More than 10 in 100,000 people aged 15-24 and 28 in 100,000 people aged 65 and above died by suicide last year, according to statistics.

The total number of deaths increased by 13.2% last year, reaching 208,438, which the health ministry attributed to Covid-19 and an aging population. The standardized mortality rate rose by 9.5% to 443.9 per 100,000 people, an unusually huge jump reflecting the deaths from the pandemic.

Cancer has remained the leading cause of death in Taiwan for 41 consecutive years. In particular, lung and liver cancer caused the highest mortality rates for a 43rd year in a row, the Central News Agency reports.

Chou Huang-chih, Executive Director of the Suicide Prevention Association, told CNA that family issues and substance abuse may lead teenagers astray, resulting in impulsive suicide attempts.

Chen Liang-yu, head of the Mental Health Division under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said the ministry has identified three major factors contributing to youth suicide: excessive internet usage, family conflict, and mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

In response to the rising suicide rates among young people, Chen said the ministry is planning to establish a call-in system between schools and local health departments in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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