In an effort to combat Japan’s decades-long suicidal crisis, local authorities in central Japan are trying a new approach: printing supportive and comforting messages on toilet paper.
“Dear you, who may choose to end it all,” the toilet paper says as part of a novel new attempt to reach out to suicidal youth in the nation.
The issue of suicide has been present in Japan for a very long time, and the nation, like many others, saw an increase in the number of suicide fatalities during certain periods of the pandemic.
According to the health ministry, the number of kids in elementary, middle, and high school who died by suicide in 2020 reached a new record high of 499.
Officials in Yamanashi believed that printing comforting slogans and suicide prevention hotline numbers on sheets of toilet paper may be an effective and inconspicuous method to aid troubled young people.
“You’re alone in the toilet. We felt that it’s at moments like this when you might be more prone to thoughts of anguish”, Yamanashi official Kenichi Miyazawa told AFP.
The campaign consists of distributing 6,000 rolls that have been printed with various slogans and phone numbers to a total of twelve institutions in the surrounding area one month ago.
The pictures, which include a cat curled up on its back and a lady clutching an umbrella and staring up into the sky, are interspersed with phrases that were developed by a mental health specialist and are designed to alleviate feelings of isolation.
“Dear you, spending painful days pretending to be okay for someone else”, reads one message written in blue on the white paper. “You don’t need to tell us everything… but how about just a little of it?”