• attitude;
  • community survey;
  • depression;
  • prevention;
  • suicide

Abstract  In response to the rise in suicide in Japan since 1998, some suicide prevention measures in local communities have been put into action. However, in the previous suicide prevention measures, sociopsychological factors were not fully taken into consideration. In the present study, the authors surveyed sociopsychological factors relating to suicide and depression (i.e. people’s coping behavior and thoughts about depression and suicidal ideation, and their attitudes toward suicide and psychiatric treatment), and their differences in gender and generations. The present study was conducted in a rural area of Japan (Town A), where the suicide rate is much higher than the national average. The authors randomly selected 10% of the residents (i.e. 532 people) aged between 40 and 79 years on the basis of resident registration. Health promotion volunteers in Town A visited these 532 people individually, distributed questionnaires, and asked them to anonymously answer the questionnaire within 4 weeks. Data from 450 residents (193 men, 257 women) were analyzed in the present study. Although there were few gender differences, some significant differences were found between the younger (40–59 years) and older (60–79 years) residents. Generally, the younger were more pessimistic about their mental health than the elderly. It was also noteworthy that about 10% of the people thought that it was natural for them to have suicidal ideation, and about 18% reported that they had experienced suicidal ideation. Some suggestions were given to provide more effective suicide prevention measures.