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The Mental Health of Japanese People vs. American People

by Ewa Nowogorski

We’ve talked about the physical health of Japanese people before, as it’s almost a simple matter to observe and judge. But mental health should also be looked at, as it can impact physical health too. One way of measuring the mental health of a population is by looking at its suicide rates. If a particular population has a low suicide rate, then in some respects it can be considered to have a decent mental health. If a certain population has a high suicide rate, however, you might be justified in assuming that the mental health of that population collectively is not so great.

Japan over the years has recorded an average suicide rate of 20 suicides per 100,000 people, which is certainly not the worst, but it’s not the best either. By comparison, the US has an average rate of 13 per 100,000 people. It’s still not the best though. By comparison, the Phillippines has a rate of just 2.2.

Mental health issues are not typically acknowledged, and if are done so, they are usually jokingly dealt with in not so healthy ways such as drinking. The mental health of the Japanese population has been declining, though. This is most likely due to financial factors as well as work related stresses. People have to work more and get paid less. And there are so many companies that force you to work without properly compensating you, known as black companies. Mental health in America can be quite low due to difficulty in finding work as well.

Financial troubles and debt can be some of the worst worries to deal with, and many people in Japan find their only escape from debt and overwork in suicide. And plus, if you saw how crowded rush-hour trains were in Tokyo, you might begin to understand why so many people choose to jump in front of them rather than getting on them.

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