- Japan Society for Occupational Health
- Environmental and Occupational Health Practice (ISSN:24344931)
- pp.2020-0020-OP, (Released:2021-02-25)
In Japan, over 6,000 workers commit suicide every year, and the Japanese government has taken several countermeasures to prevent Karoshi (death due to overwork) and mental health disorders among workers. Risk factors for suicide among workers include long working hours, adverse psychosocial job characteristics, economic recession or financial crisis, job insecurity, and workplace harassment. Depressive symptoms are supposed to play a vital role in mediating mechanisms. Owing to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, economic crises continue and seemingly deepen, and the risk of unemployment increases. Workers with low socioeconomic status and who do not enjoy occupational health services are considered vulnerable, and essential workers (including health care workers) require special attention. Little evidence prevails with respect to workplace suicide prevention measures in a population approach, and hence, suicide prevention should be integrated into the existing workplace mental health activities. Although evidence of secondary prevention, such as screening for depression, is scarce for workplace mental health, such measures, including regular psychological counseling, should be applicable during this crisis. Research is thus crucial for preventing suicide in the workplace using surrogate outcomes, such as suicidality, help-seeking, stigma, access to means, and improving workplace support. Prevention of suicide among temporary workers, freelancers, foreign workers, and self-employed individuals who lack support from regional and occupational healthcare domains remains an untackled issue.