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Orui M.,Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center | Sato Y.,Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center | Sato Y.,Miyagi University | Tazaki K.,Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center | And 3 more authors.
Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine | Year: 2015

Devastating natural disasters and their aftermath are known to cause psychological distress. However, little information is available regarding suicide rates following tsunami disasters that destroy regional social services and networks. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the tsunami disaster following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 has influenced suicide rates. The study period was from March 2009 to February 2014. Tsunami disaster-stricken areas were defined as the 16 municipalities facing the Pacific Ocean in Miyagi Prefecture. Inland areas were defined as other municipalities in Miyagi that were damaged by the earthquake. Suicide rates in the tsunami disasterstricken areas were compared to national averages, using a time-series analysis and the Poisson distribution test. In tsunami disaster-stricken areas, male suicide rates were significantly lower than the national average during the initial post-disaster period and began to increase after two years. Likewise, male suicide rates in the inland areas decreased for seven months, and then increased to exceed the national average. In contrast, female post-disaster suicide rates did not change in both areas compared to the national average. Importantly, the male suicide rates in the inland areas started to increase earlier compared to the tsunami-stricken areas, which may reflect the relative deficiency of mental healthcare services in the inland areas. Considering the present status that many survivors from the tsunami disaster still live in temporary housing and face various challenges to rebuild their lives, we should continue intensive, long-term mental healthcare services in the tsunami-stricken areas. © 2015 Tohoku University Medical Press.

Orui M.,Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center | Harada S.,Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center | Hayashi M.,Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center
Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine | Year: 2014

Objective: Devastating disasters may increase suicide rates due to mental distress. Previous domestic studies have reported decreased suicide rates among men following disasters. Few reports are available regarding factors associated with disasters, making it difficult to discuss how these events affect suicide rates. This study aimed to observe changes in suicide rates in disaster-stricken and neighboring areas following the Great East Japan Earthquake, and examine associations between suicide rates and economic factors.Methods: Monthly suicide rates were observed from March 2009 to February 2013, during which time the earthquake occurred on March, 2011. Data were included from disaster-stricken (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures) and neighboring (control: Aomori, Akita, and Yamagata Prefectures) areas. The association between changes in suicide rates and economic variables was evaluated based on the number of bankruptcy cases and ratio of effective job offers.Results: In disaster-stricken areas, post-disaster male suicide rates decreased during the 24 months following the earthquake. This trend differed relative to control areas. Female suicide rates increased during the first seven months. Multiple regression analysis showed that bankruptcy cases (β = 0.386, p = 0.038) and ratio of effective job offers (β = −0.445, p = 0.018) were only significantly associated with male post-disaster suicide rates in control areas.Conclusion: Post-disaster suicide rates differed by gender following the earthquake. Our findings suggest that considering gender differences might be important for developing future post-disaster suicide prevention measures. This ecological study revealed that increasing effective job offers and decreasing bankruptcy cases can affect protectively male suicide rates in control areas. © 2014, The Japanese Society for Hygiene.

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