SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — Suicide deaths in South Korea rose about 9 percent on-year in the first half of the year, as underprivileged people are suffering more in their efforts to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, a local suicide prevention agency said Sunday.
A total of 6,936 people committed suicide in Korea between January and June, up 8.8 percent from 6,375 suicide deaths in the same period last year, due mainly to financial difficulties after years of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Korea Foundation for Suicide Prevention (KFSP).
There have been reports that the country’s suicide rates will rise after the unprecedented pandemic due to economic difficulties and other reasons.
Suicide rates are not usually high in times of crisis because all people share similar feelings, such as companionship, and get united to overcome the crisis, experts said.
But the underprivileged feel left out amid eased restrictions and have bigger problems making ends meet, with some of them choosing to take their own lives, they said.
By age, 54 percent of the 7,000 suicide deaths turned out to be people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, showing the deaths are largely due to economic difficulties, the foundation said.
South Korea has the highest suicide rate among the 34 surveyed Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member nations, and it has held the top position since 2003.