Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2020). 41(6), 422–428. SIEC No: 20231516
Background: Monitoring of suicide rates in the recovery phase following a devastating disaster has been limited. Aim: We report on a 7-year follow-up of the suicide rates in the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred in March 2011. Method: This descriptive study covered the period from March 2009 to February 2018. Period analysis was used to divide the 108-month study period into nine segments, in which suicide rates were compared with national averages using Poisson distribution. Results: Male suicide rates in the affected area from March 2013 to February 2014 increased to a level higher than the national average. After subsequently dropping, the male rates from March 2016 to February 2018 re-increased and showed a greater difference compared with the national averages. The difference became significant in the period from March 2017 to February 2018 (p = .047). Limitations: Specific reasons for increasing the rates in the recovery phase were not determined. Conclusion: The termination of the provision of free temporary housing might be influential in this context. Provision of temporary housing was terminated from 2016, which increased economic hardship among needy evacuees. Furthermore, disruption of the social connectedness in the temporary housing may have had an influence. Our findings suggest the necessity of suicide rate monitoring even in the recovery phase.