Games

Pokemon GO: How The Game Helps Lower The Suicide Rate

By Sarene Mae Butao , Apr 04, 2017 07:14 AM EDT

Niantic Labs officially launched Pokémon GO last summer. It features an Augmented Reality (AR) gameplay, which encourages people to go out and catch these adorable creatures in the real world. Over the past months, several reports about the game being beneficial to its players have surfaced, especially in their health since it promotes to walk an extra mile. Currently, it appears that the game does not only encourage people to be healthy but it also contributes to the decrease of suicide rate on popular suicide areas.

As one report mentions, a jagged cliff in Tojinbo was always visited by anyone who wants to give up on life. However, through Pokémon Go, this infamous landscape is now visited by people who are looking for Girafarig.

For a quick background, Tojinbo is a natural landscape in Japan that consists of a half-mile-long section of rocky cliffs along the Sea of Japan in Fukui Prefecture. The vertical volcanic rock standing boldly against the particularly intense waves in the region makes a stunning scene. However, it also has its darker side as a popular place to commit suicide.

It has been noted that the area invites more people to end their lives just like many other suicide hot spots. Resident Yukio Shige has been plagued by these events for years both as a police officer and chief of a suicide prevention NPO after retirement. Shige stated that about 90 percent of the incidents came outside of Fukui Prefecture, which was possibly lured in by Tojinbo's grim status.

Shige noted that during the start of his campaign, he managed to lower the suicide rate of the area to seven in 2014. Unfortunately, that number had gradually increased in the next two years with 12 and 14 respectively. However, at the end of the first quarter of this year, the number has stayed at zero. It is a feat that cannot be disregarded since recording zero deaths is a significant change.

Apparently, it is due to the area now being a spawn point of some rare Pokémon. As a result, lots of players are now coming in and out and even camping overnight which changes the whole environment of the place. Though Shige acknowledges the positive effect of Pokémon GO in Tojinbo, he is not letting his guard down as he plans to increase the frequency of patrols. In addition, he intends to get a drone to assist.

 

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