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November 5, 2013

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Young, single ... and suicidal

Singles, under-30s and office workers have accounted for the majority of callers to a 24-hour suicide intervention hotline since it was launched last December, operators said yesterday.

Frustrations, self-doubt and failure in love and work were among the main issues expressed by those contemplating taking their own lives, said Lin Kunhui, founder of the Life Education and Crisis Intervention Center, a nonprofit organization running the hotline, Shanghai’s first of its kind.

The center received 333 calls from singles between January and September, compared with 193 from married people.

Men accounted for 54 percent, while white collar workers were high on the list.

People aged between 22 and 29 years old accounted for the majority of callers.

People born after 1980 tend to be more fragile than those born earlier, and many don’t know how to cope with pressure as they were pampered by their parents after China’s one-child policy came into effect, said Leng Li, a psychological and marriage counselor.

Lin said there are no plans to open an English service due to staff shortages, although the center took calls from expats, who are transferred to the Lifeline International helpline.

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

Suicide is one of the top causes of death for people aged 15 to 24 in China, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The highest suicide rates are among the elderly and rural women. About two-thirds of suicides occur in rural areas.



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