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South Korea: Suicide nation


People & Power investigates South Korea’s disturbing rise in suicides, particularly among the elderly.


Loneliness, poverty, chronic illness, losing one’s job, the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a marriage – there are many reasons why people fall prey to heartbreak and despair, but most of us, thankfully, will find a route out of that unhappiness or at least develop ways of dealing with it.

Even for those who can not, whose sadness turns into the ‘black dog’ of overwhelming clinical depression, the right help can still make a crucial difference to being able to cope – be it medical care, the understanding of therapists or the love and support of family and friends. Eventually some sort of recovery takes place, some balance and perspective is restored.

Yet for some the experience of depression can be so profound that none of this works, that all remedies and assistance seem valueless and there appears to be only one way out – to end it all and takes one’s own life. Such a step is, of course, a mark of absolute and final desperation, a tragic, wasteful act that can often be cruelly devastating for the people left behind. But people still do it, many thousands around the world every year; lost souls whose mental health has been damaged and stretched beyond breaking point.

Curiously though, some societies and cultures seem more prone to suicide than others. Take South Korea, for example, where suicide has become the fourth most common cause of death, with up to 40 of its citzens taking their own lives every day. For the last eight years it has had the highest suicide rates in the industrialised world (and the second highest in the whole world behind Guyana) and it is now, astonishingly the number one cause of death for its citizens between the ages of 10 and 30. 

Read more at Al Jazeera

One Comment to South Korea: Suicide nation

  1. […] suicide in South Korea. This means over 15,000 suicides every year. South Korea has maintained the highest suicide rates in the industrialized world and the second highest in the whole world, behind Guyana, for the past […]

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