In Japan, there is a tendency to view COVID-19 infection as one’s own responsibility, which may result in more feelings of guilt than in other countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the curfew imposed by COVID-19 restricted social behavior and increased anxiety and loneliness, which may have increased the risk of suicide among young women, especially mothers who were highly stressed regarding COVID-19 infection in their children.
This is a case report of two Japanese mothers who developed feelings of guilt following infection with COVID-19, leading to suicide attempts. They feared stigma or denial due to the infection, which they were unable to explain to others, leading to a heightened sense of self-blame and suicide attempts. In addition, Japanese women have a heavy burden of housework, despite their dual roles at home and at work; the pandemic’s behavioral restrictions led to increased time at home and stress. These women were also more affected by the economic crisis in the early stages of the pandemic than men. Relatedly, neuropsychiatric symptoms that persisted after recovering from COVID-19, such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and pain, namely postacute COVID-19 syndrome or long COVID, may have precipitated the suicidal ideation in these cases. Moreover, the complication of bipolar disorder by COVID-19 could have led to suicide attempts caused by infection-related neuropsychiatric symptoms and the exacerbation of the bipolar disorder by restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
Suicide prevention measures need to be taken more seriously among mothers during or after the COVID-19 pandemic.