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Dark days of despair drive many to the final option

(China Daily)

09:57, February 27, 2013

Scourge of depression sees rising number of suicides, report Cang Wei and Song Wenwei in Nanjing.

Every three minutes, a person suffering from depression commits suicide in China and a further 11 people attempt to take their own lives.

Every year in China, 287,000 people end their lives by suicide, while another 2 million contemplate the act, 70 percent of them because of depression.


A scene from the memorial ceremony for Sienna Sai Na in Beijing. The Beijing resident, who suffered from depression, took her own life on Feb 16. (China Daily/Zhang Jin)

Sienna, who lived in Beijing's Chaoyang district, was one of these statistics. On Feb 16, the woman in her mid-20s, whose Internet identity was Sienna Sai Na, posted her last message on Weibo before committing suicide.

"Sorry that I'm leaving when so many things have been left untreated and unexplained. Depression is too painful.

The world becomes dark and distorted. I can't feel anything beautiful, no matter how hard I try. Death is the only thing I can think of. Grandma is calling me. I'm probably about to become schizophrenic, and I can't take it anymore. Goodbye, everybody."


Yao Zhijian, a professor at the Nanjing Neurological and Mental Disease Institution, knows the importance of empathy in treating depression. (Photo/ China Daily)

Statistics from Beijing Anding Hospital, a leading psychiatric institution, show that the number of people with depression in China rises every year.

"A survey conducted by authoritative departments shows that 2.5 percent of the Chinese population suffers from severe depression," said Yao Zhijian, a professor at Nanjng Neurological and Mental Disease Institution.

He added that approximately 100,000 people consult doctors who specialize in treating depression at Nanjing Brain Hospital every year.

"In the past four years, 6,329 patients with depression have been admitted to Nanjing Brain Hospital," he said.

According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, depression increases the risk of attempted suicide by as much as 20 times. Suicide is currently the top cause of death in people aged 15 to 34.

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