J Korean Med Assoc.  2011 Aug;54(8):792-794. 10.5124/jkma.2011.54.8.792.

Can a Suicide Prevention Law decrease the suicide rate in Korea?

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kyooha@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Korean Association for Suicide Prevention, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

The Suicide Prevention Law passed last March will be enacted beginning in April 2012, after the establishment of enforcement regulations. The suicide rate of Korea is 31/100,000, about 3 times the mean of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, and is still going up rapidly. Suicide is the 4th most common cause of death in Korea. As the suicide rate abruptly increased after the mid-1990s, there was little time to prepare effective strategies for suicide prevention, including personnel, programs, and networks. This is also partly due to the strong stigma and negative attitude against suicide and suicide prevention, which has prevented the exploration of the reason for the high suicide rate and recent increase. The Suicide Prevention Law requires comprehensive suicide prevention activities of the central and local governments, and support for those who attempt suicide, victims, and their families. Its successful implementation will be highly dependent on active participation of doctors for screening and prevention of high risk groups, including patients with depression and chronic physical illnesses and those who have psychosomatic symptoms from various stressful life events.

Keyword

Suicide; Prevention; Physician; Screening; Education

MeSH Terms

Cause of Death
Depression
Humans
Jurisprudence
Korea
Mass Screening
Social Control, Formal
Suicide
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