Published : 2013-10-07 10:10
Updated : 2013-10-07 10:10
Seoul's suicide rate fell for the first time in six years in 2012, data showed Monday.
According to the data by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, a total of 2,391 citizens in the capital city took their own lives in 2012, down from the previous year's 2,722.
The suicide rate, or the number of deaths per every 100,000 citizens, in 2012 came to 23.8, falling 11.5 percent on-year, the data showed.
The suicide rate in Seoul had been on the rise since 2006, with a 17.1 rate in 2006, 21.6 in 2008, 26.2 in 2010 and 26.9 in 2011.
"The first fall in six years seems partly attributable to fewer cases of copycat suicides in the country," a city official said.
Celebrity suicides in South Korea have had a huge influence on the public, as explained by the Werther effect. This is where victims emulate a previous suicide attempt that they learned about either through local knowledge or media coverage.
"Also noteworthy is that the suicide rate among those in their 20s fell nearly 30 percent, which is the highest rate of decline among the age brackets," he added.
With a goal to cut the number of victims in half by 2020, the municipal government launched earlier this year the "Connecting Hearts 1080" project, through which the city will come up with diverse rescue and prevention measures while promoting a campaign to raise awareness about the value of life.
Nationwide, suicide was also a major cause of death, with a total of 14,160 people taking their own lives last year, but the death rate for suicides declined 11.4 percent on-year to 28.1 in 2012.
It was the first decline for the figure since 2006, but the overall death rate for suicides was the highest compared with that in other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD average for the death rate for suicides stood at 12.5, according to the data by Statistics Korea. (Yonhap News)