Survey respondents also discuss work anxieties such as work hours, harassment
The Japan Actors Union released the results of a survey of its actor and voice actor members on Friday. Of the 166 respondents to a question of "have you ever thought about wanting to die because of work?" on the survey, 48 answered "yes." The union held the survey from September to October. The announcement on Friday was part of an interim report based on the survey.
The survey also asked about types of worries and anxieties members face on the job, and answers included subjects like working hours and harassment. A psychiatrist at the symposium where the union announced the results stated, "entertainers are constantly judged on social media services, and have diet and sleep restrictions, so it is easy to become stressed, and they do not have anyone to talk to about their worries, which can lead to thoughts of suicide."
The Japan Actors Union has roughly 2,600 members. The union stated it wants to take measures such as setting up a service where actors and voice actors can discuss their mental health and concerns.
Entertainment news websites like Variety have posted articles recently about a recent string of actor deaths by suspected suicide in Japan — including actress Sei Ashina, actor Haruma Miura, actress Yuko Takeuchi, and reality TV star Hana Kimura — which have raised concerns about suicides in Japan during the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper's English website posted an article on October 23 highlighting a report by the Japan Suicide Countermeasures Promotion Center, which claimed that news coverage of Miura's suspected suicide likely "triggered individuals who had originally been distressed over their lives and employment amid the coronavirus pandemic to kill themselves." Mainichi Shimbun also reported on July 21 about experts who stated some sensational articles in Japan did not conform to the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines on responsible reporting for suicides after Miura's death.
If you or anyone you know is suicidal or having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a suicide prevention organization in your country. In Japan, the TELL LifeLine service is available at 03-5774-0992, and an English counseling service is available at 03-4550-1146. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255. In Canada, Crisis Services Canada is available at 1-833-456-4566.