Japan child support hotline aims to tackle post-vacation suicides in Kyushu

Representative says calling for help 'might require some courage, but many kids seem relieved'

A new hotline aims to combat suicides among children when summer vacation ends (Childline Support Center Japan)
A new hotline aims to combat suicides among children when summer vacation ends (Childline Support Center Japan)

SAGA (TR) – A volunteer group plans to launch a suicide hotline on the island of Kyushu on Wednesday to support under-18 children as the end of summer vacation draws near, which often sees a spike in child suicides.

The hotline will be run by a child support group in Fukuoka, Saga, Kagoshima, Oita and Nagasaki prefectures from 4 p.m. on Wednesday to 9 p.m. on Thursday, and online chat consultations will be launched on Monday night for children reluctant to speak over the phone, the Saga Shimbun reports (Aug. 29).

Children who call the hotline won’t have to reveal their personal details, including their school, and discussions will not be shared with family or school officials.

The chat service by Childline Support Center Japan will run from Monday until September 9 starting 4 p.m. until 9 p.m., and will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Messages will be deleted after the chat windows are closed.

Childline representative Takeru Nakamura said calling for help “might require some courage, but many kids seem relieved after they finish talking.”

“All consultations are welcome, no matter how trifle they might seem,” Nakamura said. “It’s also OK to just call if you want someone to talk to.”

A total of 131 children under 18 nationwide committed suicide on September 1 between 1972 and 2013, according to government statistics. For the following day, the figure was 94, while for August 31 it was 92. A total of 18,048 children committed suicide over that entire 42-year period, according to the Sankei Shimbun (July 16).

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