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July 16, 2013

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White collars, the unemployed top suicide risk groups

OFFICE workers, jobless people and under-40s have accounted for the majority of callers to a 24-hour suicide intervention hotline since it was launched in December, operators said yesterday.

About 60 percent of the 1,600-plus calls received between January and June came from white collar workers and the unemployed, said the Life Education and Crisis Intervention Center, a nonprofit organization that runs the hotline, Shanghai's first of its kind.

The latter group includes students, said the organization.

Office workers and the unemployed also form the most vulnerable group who need urgent intervention, the center revealed.

Center staff assign each call a status based on seven degrees of seriousness.

The center also reported that 40 percent of callers were aged between 20 and 30 years old, while 70 percent of callers fell within the 20 to 40 age bracket.

Other groups were conspicuous by their absence.

While seniors are a high-risk group for suicide, most do not use the hotline to seek support, the center said.

There were more female than male callers and more single people than those in relationships, the center reported.

The majority of callers sought help late at night and early morning, and most of them needed urgent counseling.

Challenges in relationships and work were the major concerns of many seeking psychological counseling, operators said.

According to the World Health Organization, China has a suicide rate of 22.23 per 100,000 people.

Recent cases

Yesterday, police in Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province said a Shanghai tourist guide was found hanged in her bathroom on Sunday in a budget hotel. The woman, in her 30s, was leading a tour group from Shanghai and arrived in Hangzhou on Friday.

Yesterday in Shanghai, a man apparently tried to commit suicide by leaping off a building on Dagu Road. Police brought him down after a one-hour standoff.

On Sunday, a woman jumped into the Suzhou Creek at the Hengfeng Road Bridge in Shanghai in an apparent suicide bid.

She was saved by a passer-by.


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