South Korea's health ministry on Thursday said it launched a set of campaigns to prevent suicides in an effort to cope with an uptrend in the number of people taking their own lives.
The campaigns aim to create a "life-respecting culture" to ward off suicide attempts and help people who have attempted to kill themselves by asking them if they are "fine," the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.
The "Postbox Campaign" will encourage people to write letters and post them on social networking service platforms, such as Facebook, the ministry said.
The ministry said it will also conduct a series of promotional events by dancers and singers that aim to talk about hope instead of despair.
The ministry said 93.4 percent of those who committed suicide have sent signals before their deaths, noting that suicides can be largely prevented through people paying attention.
"The issue of suicide can be solved like in Japan and Finland where people took interests in the issue," a ministry official said.
The number of suicides has been increasing over the years.
There were 21.8 suicide cases per 100,000 people in 2006, 26 in 2008 and 31.2 cases in 2010. In 2011, more than 15,000 people took their own lives, and the number of daily suicide victims came to 44.
South Korea has the highest suicide rate among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with an average of 29.1 people per 100,000 taking their own lives in 2012, far surpassing the OECD average of 12, according to the OECD. (Yonhap)