Statistics show an average of 38 suicides per day in the last year.
On September 22, Yonhap News released an article revealing the number of people committing suicide in Korea last year. Accordingly, the suicide death rate in this country has increased for two consecutive years. According to statistics on the cause of death in 2019 of the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of deaths by suicide last year was 13,799. The average is 37.8 per day.
Last year, the suicide rate (number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 resident population) was 26.9%, up 0.9% from the previous year. The suicide rate fell for four consecutive years from 2014 to 2017, and then increased after five years in 2018.
By age, suicide is the number one cause of death in the age group 10 to 30. In particular, 37.5% of people commit suicide in teenagers, 51.0% in the age of 20 and 39.0 % are in the age of 30. On the other hand, cancer is the leading cause of deaths in all age groups after 40 years of age.
Compared to the previous year, the rate of suicide has increased especially significantly in the age of 20 (9.6%). The rate of suicide also increased in teenagers (2.7%) and 60 years old (2.5%), but decreased at the age of 70 (-5.6%) and over 80 years old (-3.4%). However, in men, the suicide rate decreased by 1.4% compared to 2018, while in women the rate increased by 6.7%.
Last year, South Korea’s age-related suicide rate (number of people committing suicide per 100,000 resident population by OECD standards) was 24.6%, the highest among OECD member countries. This figure is much higher than the average suicide rate in OECD member countries (11.3%).
Last year, suicide (self-harm) ranked 5th among the leading causes of death behind cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, and cerebrovascular disease in South Korea.
According to analysis from the article, since 2018, the rate of suicide has increased after 5 years of decline. Some people believe this situation is due to the influence of famous artists. SEOUL is reeling from the latest wave of suicides by popular actors and singers. The high-profile cases could prompt copycat cases despite government efforts to prevent people from taking their own lives.
On 18 December 2017, Kim Jonghyun, a main vocalist of South Korean group Shinee, died by suicide at the age of 27. He was found unconscious in a hotel room by paramedics after sending a suicide note to his sister and was later pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
By 2019, the situation became more serious when four singers and actors choose to end their own lives. Actress Jeon Mi Sun committed suicide in a hotel bathroom on June 29, 2019. On 14 October 2019, Sulli, an actress and former member of f(x), died by suicide at the age of 25. She was found dead in her home by her manager. On 24 November 2019, Goo Hara, an actress, a former member of Kara and also Sulli’s close friend, died by suicide at the age of 28. She had attempted to end her own life once before, on 26 May 2019, but was found in time and taken to hospital. The next one was Cha In-ha, a rookie actor and member of Surprise U, died by suicide at the age of 27 on 3 December 2019.
They all suffer from depression because of the pressures of life, work, and family. South Korean society obsesses over celebrity divorces, with speculation about who is the “guilty party”. There is a similar obsession with why celebrities kill themselves. Some of the responsibility has to lie with reporters who think only of how many clicks their articles will attract, even if it means spewing out falsehoods and speculation.