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Korea’s suicide rate is the highest April 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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A study has found that Korea’s suicide rate is the highest, while Hungary’s suicide rate is the second highest among the 30 member countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

According to an OECD report on Sunday, Korea’s suicide rate stands at 24.7 cases per 100,000 people, the highest in the group. Hungary followed with 22.6, then Japan with 20.3 and Belgium with 18.4. The US recorded 10.2 suicides per 100,000, less than half Korea’s figure. Korea’s suicide rate also grew fastest during the last 25 years, an annual average of 5.01% since 1982.

During the same period, other countries have reported growth in their suicide rates of around 2% on average, while Australia, Norway and Greece have reduced their rates. In 1982, Korea’s suicide rate stood at 6.8 cases per 100,000, one of the lowest in the world, along with Mexico at 2.3, Greece at 3.3 and Spain at 4.8. Experts blame the increase on the culture of fierce competition in Korean society.

“Research shows that 80% of people who kill themselves suffer from psychiatric problems like depression. The biggest factor is stress” said Yoon Se-chang, a professor of neuropsychiatry at Samsung Medical Center. “High competition since elementary school explains the high suicide rate in Korea”. The suicide rate among young people is especially high in Korea.

According to statistics for 2005 the leading cause of death for people in their 20s and 30s was suicide. For people in their 20s, the rate is 17.7 suicides per 100,000, and for the people in their 30s it’s 21.8. “The increasing suicide rate is related to the rapid socioeconomic decline such as the increasing rates of unemployment and divorce since the financial crisis of 1997” said Lee Hong-shik, the president of the Korean Association for Suicide Prevention. To solve the problem, the experts say communities should set up systems to identify the problem at the earliest possible stage.