The death of Korean actress Choi Jin-Sil and comedian Ahn Jae-hwan is a reflection of the growing and alarming suicide rate in South Korea.
From 1985 to 2006, the suicide rate in Korea more than doubled from 9.1 per 100,000 persons in 1985 to 21.9 per 100,000 in 2006, according to the World Health Organization.
In 2006, there were 10,688 South Koreans who committed suicide. This increased to 12,174 persons last year, or a daily average of 33 South Koreans who took their own life.
A report by Korea Times said the suicide rate in Korea is the highest among countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is composed of 30 countries including the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany and France.
Here’s the report:
The Korea Times
Suicide rate doubles in a decade
August 9, 2008
By Yoon Ja-young
Staff ReporterThe suicide rate in Korea has doubled in a decade, making Korea the highest suicide-rate country among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.According to the National Statistical Office (NSO), the number of those who took their lives last year totaled 12,174, meaning 33.3 people killed themselves daily on average.It means 24.8 of every 100,000 people committed suicide last year, compared with 10.1 in the United States, 19.1 in Japan, and six in the United Kingdom.
The figure has nearly doubled since 1997, when 13 of every 100,000 people took their lives.
Suicide was the fourth biggest cause of death here last year, following cancer, cerebrovascular disease and heart disease. Suicide was ranked 8th on the list in 1997.
It was the top cause of death among those in their 20s and 30s and the second biggest reason for death among teenagers and those in their 40s.
Suicide among senior citizens was also serious. The number of people in their 70s who took their lives totaled 78.5 out of every 100,000.