SEOUL:South Korea’s suicide rate hit a record high in 2005, due to depression sparked by an economic downturn and rapid changes in social conditions, a government survey showedon January 29.
The National Statistical Office said 26.1 out of 100,000 people committed suicide in 2005 compared to 11.8 in 1995.“The 2005 rate was a record high and the highest among the members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development,” an official in the statistics office told AFP. Corresponding figures for other countries were not given.Out of 245,511 deaths in 2005, the office listed 12,047, an all-time high, as suicides.
Suicide was the fifth largest cause of death in 2005 while cancer remained the number one killer of South Koreans, it said. The office attributed the high suicide rate to economic hardship and a rapid change in social conditions. Suicides were on the rise especially among senior citizens. Local media reports say financial hardship and illness sometimes prompt senior citizens to take their own lives.