Song Young-keun, a lawmaker in the ruling Saenuri Party, proposed a revision of health and medical laws to identify soldiers and officers at high risk of suicide based on regular monitoring of their mental health.
The proposal came as a growing number of soldiers are found to be struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
The Ministry of National Defense conducted a survey of 1,310 soldiers serving in the military from September last year through May this year; 9.3 percent said they have experienced suicidal impulses, 1.8 percent had planned a suicide and 1.2 percent had actually attempted.
Difficulties adapting to the environment was the most common reason for suicide attempts. Other factors included tough conditions on army bases.
More than half of soldiers showing signs of suicidal impulses had suffered from mental illnesses before joining the military and they tended to display more suicide-related behavior.
Some 4.6 percent of soldiers suffer from depression, which is much higher than the average depression rate of 1.8 percent among Korean men.
Last year, military hospitals nationwide accepted more than 40,000 patients suffering from mental illnesses, and 185 soldiers were discharged due to their conditions.
By Yoon Ha-youn, Intern reporter