SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — Of all the member states within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), South Korea has the highest suicide rate.
Although it has fallen slightly in recent years, the rate has gone up again due to the slowdown in the shipbuilding sector in South Gyeongsang Province.
According to the provincial government, the suicide rate in South Gyeongsang grew from 25.6 suicides per 100,000 people to 32.2 in 2011.
Afterwards, the number of suicides per 100,000 declined slightly from 27.3 in 2013 and 26.5 in 2014 to 26.3 in 2015, only to go up again in 2016 to 27.2 per 100,000. On a national level, the number of suicides has declined since 2011.
Within South Gyeongsang Province, the districts that have seen higher suicides rates are Hapcheon-gun, Changwon, Geoje, Geochang-gun, Masanhoewon-gu and Jinhae-ju.
Excluding Hapcheon and Geochang, these districts have a high population of senior citizens, while the remainder are heavily populated by current and former workers in the shipbuilding industry.
Geoje, where shipbuilding is a major industry, had a relatively low suicide rate of 21.1 per 100,000 in 2015, but saw a sharp increase to 35.3 in the following year.
An official at the South Gyeongsang government said that the increase in the suicide rate in 2016 may stem from the struggles in the shipbuilding sector.
“The government is focusing on looking after the tools and chemicals that have been used by those committing suicide, in addition to surveying the segment of the population who are highly at risk of considering suicide,” said the official.
H. S. Seo (email@example.com)