Most Suicide Warning Signs Go Unheeded, Study Says | Be Korea-savvy

Most Suicide Warning Signs Go Unheeded, Study Says

(image: Pixabay)

(image: Pixabay)

SEOUL, May 4 (Korea Bizwire)It has been reported that most people who commit suicide tell others that they “want to die” and show signs of being suicidal, but only one out of five family members recognized such warnings.

Factors contributing to suicide were different per age group: dating and education for youth, jobs and housing debt for adults, unemployment for the middle-aged, and health-related issues for the elderly.

This is according to a report released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in conjunction with the Korea Psychological Autopsy Center that analyzed cases of psychological autopsy in suicide victims.

Psychological autopsies are carried out by collecting information on the deceased via interviews of family members, relatives and friends in order to find the specific cause of the suicide.

A total of 289 psychological autopsies were requested at the center between 2015 and 2017.

According to the results, 92 percent of the victims had given off suicidal warnings through changes in speech, behavior and emotions.

Changes in speech were manifested in victims who talked a lot about death or suicide, and complained of physical discomfort. There were also many cases in which victims talked of self-contempt or asked about suicide methods.

Changes in behavior included insomnia and oversleeping as well as insufficient eating or overeating.

There were also many instances in which the suicide victims rid themselves of material possessions and neglected to take care of their physical appearance.

Of the suicide victims, 36 percent had experienced drug or alcohol abuse. They were also prone to compulsive shopping and speeding. Another 12.8 percent had previously inflicted self-injury, and 35.6 percent had attempted suicide in the past.

Emotionally, suicide victims showed signs of guilt, helplessness, hypersensitivity and became anti-social, losing interest in life.

But only 21.4 percent of family members recognized such warning signs, and few were able to deal with the situation appropriately by consulting a doctor or asking victims about their desire to commit suicide.

“We can only help prevent suicide by being mindful when we look around us,” said Jeon Myeong-suk, a director at the Health Ministry who overlooks the suicide prevention policy.

Jeon said that the Ministry will train one million “suicide prevention gatekeepers” who will be able to detect signs of suicidal tendencies early so that they can take appropriate measures rapidly.

H. S. Seo (

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