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Suicide In Japan And Health Promotion

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Suicide In Japan And Health Promotion

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Discuss about the Socio-Economic Determinants Of Suicide In Japan.

Health goes beyond the absence of disease/diseases in the body; it’s something that lets people satisfy their needs, realize their life’s aspirations and handle the environment so as to live a productive and fruitful long life. Therefore, health enables personal, economic and social progress fundamental to well being. Economic security, safe housing, peace and a stable ecosystem are social and environmental resources for health while social ties, positive emotions, healthful diet, resilience autonomy and physical activity are individual health resources. Well being can ultimately be improved through health promotion activities that aim at strengthening such environmental, social and individual resources (Dodge et al., 2012). Therefore, it is agreeable that well being includes the absence of depression and anxiety (negative emotions), presence of contentment and happiness (positive emotions), positive functioning, satisfaction and fulfillment with life. It’s simply feeling good and judging life positively. However, physical well being is regarded as critical to overall well being in health promotion.
Taking a target group of 60+ years (seniors), we can create an online promotion to reduce suicide cases. This age comes with retirement from work, many chronic illnesses onset and loneliness and to some people lack of purpose in live that may trigger suicide thoughts. It is recorded that more than 2500 people committed suicide in Japan last year. This was broken down further to 70 people per day with men being the majority. This data is alarming due to the fact that Japan is among the developed nations in the world. This suicidal rate in three times that of the United Kingdom. Taking one instance from the train tragedy where a man, 71 years old torched himself in a Japanese bullet train (Motohashi, 2012). This raise questions as to what drove the elderly man to set himself on fire after shoeing away other passengers. However those close to him during the tragic event said he did it with tears in his eyes. Further investigations brought to light signs of a man who had come to the edge of life, with neighbors saying that they could hear television sounds from his house but rarely was he seen outside. They had also heard him smash a window that particular morning after locking his poor self out of his decrepit apartment. These cases of old people, poor and living alone are common in Japan (Andres 2011). It has been noted that the pace of ageing population all over the world is increasing at a very high rate. The World Health Organization has predicted that their will nearly be double (that’s from 12% to 22%) the population of people over 60 years between 2015 and 2050. They further indicate that by 2020 there will be a higher number of people aged more than 60years than that of children aged below 5 years. This data cuts across the world as they also outline that by 2050, 80% of older people will also be living in middle income and low income countries (Crane & Matten, 2016). This kind of demographic shift will mean more suicide cases in japan in the future.
Isolation is the leading cause for depression and suicide. The newspapers are full of stores of old people who die alone in their homes/apartments (Chen et al., 2012). These people have been neglected; children no longer take care of their old parents as it used to be in the past. “Honorable suicide”, which is a tradition in Japan, may have also contributed to the high rate of suicide. This tradition origin from the samurai practice of taking your own life “seppuku”, and shows the distinct cultural reasons that contribute to suicide cases. In addition to that, the absence of Christianity or religion makes suicide not to be seen as a sin but as a way of enchanting your own responsibility. On the other hand, elderly people turn to committing suicide as a way to provide for their families through insurance as Japans insurance system is quite lax to paying for suicide.
Among employed people in Japan, increasing strain to retain jobs by working long overtime hours taking few sick days and holidays are contributing factors to suicide. Health problems and work fatigue motivated suicide and accounted for 47% of people taking their own lives in 2008. In 2007, of 2,207 suicide cases, overwork resulted to 672 cases of the same (Kohyama, 2011). This kind of death is known as ‘karoshi’. In addition, the void that results as one is forced to retire from work is also a partial contributor to suicide. However, the local government, community and companies have started to give classes to senior citizens and those recently retired to curb the feeling of lack of identity, loneliness, isolation and lack of purpose to curb suicide.
Although older people’s health variations are genetic, social and physical environments that is; communities, homes and neighborhoods, as well as personal characteristics ie. Ethnicity, sex and socioeconomic status affect the thoughts of taking one’s own life starting in early age. The environments where people live when they are young in addition to their personal characteristics have effects on the way they think and the value of life. Supportive environments too help by doing what’s important to support seniors that are retired and living alone by engaging them in community activities that help them feel personal worth so that they don’t result to suicide.
There are however a few challenges to responding to senior population and suicide, this is brought about by deteriorating mental and mental capacities (Hirokawa et al., 2012). Thus comprehensive response by public health must respond and address a wide range of needs and experiences of older people. The old age diversity we see is not random. It largely arises from people’s social and physical environments and their impacts on health behavior and opportunities. The significant percentage of diversity is due to the sum of these environmental and personal characteristics across the person’s life. There are some outdated ageist attitudes that should be addressed; people assume that older people are a society’s burden as they are seen as dependent and frail. Often these attitudes lead to discrimination and affect development of policies and old people’s opportunity to have a healthy aging experience (Lusardi et al., 2011). Technological developments in the communication and transport sector, changing gender traditions, urbanization, globalization and migration affect older people’s lives in both indirect and direct ways (Huang et al., 2010). For instance, in the past generations used to live together and older people were the families responsibility to take care of, due to changing trends families can live separately. A response should be able to take into account these projected and current trends.
According to the Ottawa health promotion charter encourages the building of a health public policy and ensures that decisions are made that are aware of resulting health consequences and acceptance of the health responsibility (Nutbeam, 2008). The resulting policy should also adopt and find a way to remove the obstacles it might face. The aim is to make the healthier choice the simpler choice for people and policy makers to; adopt/create supportive environments with policies that are action oriented and committed to sustain the value of life; strengthen actions of community towards senior population care; develop personal skills to enable people to be more dependent in taking care of themselves and their own health and reorient health services to be focused on the senior population (Heidkamp, 2013). There is also need to develop long term providing care systems in all countries. However this has to be build from nothing in some countries, also known as palliative care is now a requirement for the enhancement of older peoples well being.
In sum, health and wellbeing is created and lived within every day lives of people in their different settings; where they play, learn love and work. Health is created by taking care of others, for oneself, through being able to have control over your life through the right decisions in different circumstances and above all ensuring that one’s environment is tailored to allow all its members to attain health. In developing an excellent health strategy, holism, ecology and caring are the most essential issues to be considered. Lastly, in the planning, put into practice and assessing of health promotion, men and women should be regarded as equal partners and we will reduce suicides in Japan.
Andres, A. R., Halicioglu, F., & Yamamura, E. (2011). Socio-economic determinants of suicide in Japan. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 40(6), 723-731.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Chronic disease prevention and health promotion.
Chen, J., Choi, Y. C., Mori, K., Sawada, Y., & Sugano, S. (2012). Recession, unemployment, and suicide in Japan. Japan Labor Review, 9(2), 75-92.
Crane, A., & Matten, D. (2016). Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.
Dodge, R., Daly, A. P., Huyton, J., & Sanders, L. D. (2012). The challenge of defining wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(3).
Heidkamp, M. (2013). Older workers, rising skill requirements, and the need for a re-envisioning of the public workforce system. TAPPING MATURE TALENT.
Hirokawa, S., Kawakami, N., Matsumoto, T., Inagaki, A., Eguchi, N., Tsuchiya, M., … & Takeshima, T. (2012). Mental disorders and suicide in Japan: a nation-wide psychological autopsy case–control study. Journal of affective disorders, 140(2), 168-175.
Huang, C. Q., Dong, B. R., Lu, Z. C., Yue, J. R., & Liu, Q. X. (2010). Chronic diseases and risk for depression in old age: a meta-analysis of published literature. Ageing research reviews, 9(2), 131-141.
Kohyama, J. (2011). Sleep, serotonin, and suicide in Japan. Journal of physiological anthropology, 30(1), 1-8.
Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2011). Financial literacy and planning: Implications for retirement wellbeing (No. w17078). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Motohashi, Y. (2012). Suicide in Japan. The Lancet, 379(9823), 1282-1283.
Nutbeam, D. (2008). What would the Ottawa Charter look like if it were written today?.

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