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Seoul sees surge in young adult suicides

Oct. 10, 2022 - 15:12 By Lee Jung-Youn

The number of people in their 20s who died by suicide in Seoul last year increased by 9.3 percent compared to the previous year, exceeding the proportion of those in their 30s and 40s, the data showed Monday.

According to data Rep. Chung Woo-taik of the People Power Party received from Seoul Metropolitan City and Seoul Police Agency, a total of 2,034 people took their own lives in Seoul last year. Among them, 655 people, or 32.2 percent, were in their 60s or older, followed by those in their 20s and 50s, which both saw 353 people, or 17.4 percent.

The total number of people who died by suicide in Seoul showed no significant difference in 2021 from the previous year, but the proportion of those in their 20s increased by 9.3 percent. It was followed by an 8.4 percent increase of the population in their 60s and older. Proportions of the rest of the age groups declined.

Additionally, the population that saw the largest increase in suicides over the past decade was those in their 20s.

Rep. Kang Sun-woo of Democratic Party of Korea on Monday also stressed the need to strengthen the government's rehabilitation program for people who have survived a suicide attempt. According to data Kang received from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, there has been an increase in suicides among people who have participated in the government’s aid program.

From 2017 to 2021, a total of 78 people died after a second attempt at suicide after or during the government rehabilitation program. While two people who took part in the program died in 2017, and three people died 2018, the figure greatly increased to 30 in 2021.

The total number of people enrolled in the government's aid program increased every year -- from 6,611 in 2017 to 15,353 in 2021 -- but about one-third of participants quit the program each year without a clear reason. Among those who left the government program in 2021, 40 percent did not provide a reason why.

If you’re thinking about self-harm or suicide, contact the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s helpline 1393, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.