South Korea seeks to curb rising suicide rate
March 19, 2007 8:32pm CST
South Korea may make farm chemicals less toxic and install more fences on the tops of tall buildings in order to cut down on the high suicide rate . Actress Jeong Da-Bin and pop singer Yuni, two high-profile young women with successful careers, were both found hanged in the past few weeks, sparking concern in South Korea, which has the highest suicide rate of all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members. Having seen its suicide rate double in less than a decade, the country will also set up more counseling centers and try to increase awareness of the risks of depression, according to a health official. "Also as a part of the campaign, we want to remove harmful Internet sites that may encourage suicide as well increase the number of our cyber counseling sites for young people, who favor this type of service," said ministry official Kim Gwon-chul. In 2004, 24.2 South Korean per 100,000 citizens killed themselves, making suicide the fourth leading cause of death in the country, ahead of traffic accidents. There were 12,047 deaths by suicide in 2005. South Korea's suicide rate is higher than Japan's and about double that in Canada, Norway or the United States, the government said. One reason behind the increase in suicides may be a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots in South Korea, with poorer citizens more likely to kill themselves than the affluent, according to government data.