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Suicide rate triples in 25 years

The number of South Koreans who chose to take their own lives has tripled in the past 25 years, with the most dramatic increase among those in their 40s and women, a study shows.  

According to a team of researchers led by professor Park Sang-hwa at Seoul National University Medical Research Center, the country’s suicide rate came in at an average of 29.6 cases per 100,000 people in the 2010-2014 period, a 3.6-fold increase from the 8.2 cases recorded for 1985-1989. 

Stock image(123rf)
Stock image(123rf)
In the 80s, 20- and 30-somethings were the most suicidal age groups, together making up nearly 50 percent of the cases. From 2010-2014 they represented less than 30 percent. 

Those in their 30s and 40s saw a significant increase in suicide cases, accounting for 41.6 percent of all males who died by suicide and 32.1 percent of females from 2010-2014. Between 1985 and 1989, men who died by suicide stood at 29.1 percent and women at 22.3 percent.  

The research also revealed that the suicide rate among women is increasing at an alarming pace, rising 4.1 times in 25 years. 

“The changing trend of suicide cases reveals the urgent need for a suicide prevention program for women in their 40s,” the paper noted. 

In October last year, a poll conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs on 853 people aged over 65 showed that one out of 10 senior citizens have had thoughts about attempting suicide in the past year. 

By Kim Da-sol (