Health Policy Manag.  2020 Mar;30(1):112-119. 10.4332/KJHPA.2020.30.1.112.

Suicide Related Indicators and Trends in Korea in 2018

  • 1Department of Public Health, Yonsei University Graduate School, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Division of New Health Technology Assessment, National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Preventive Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Suicide has been a long-standing problem for global public health, along with almost 800,000 deaths from suicide worldwide in 2016, accounting for 1.4% of all deaths. South Korea was ranked first in suicide mortality in 2018 among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This study aimed to suggest up-to-date information about suicide-related indicators such as the rate of suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and suicide death, and its trends by applying sampling weight to make it nationally representative. In this study, we used the data sources: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination (KNHANES, ‘07–13, ‘15–18), Korean Community Health Survey (KCHS, ‘08–09, ‘13, ‘17), Korean Wealth Panel Study (KOWEPS, ‘12–18), Korea Health Panel Survey (KHP, ‘10–13), and Statistics Korea (1983–2017). The rate of suicidal ideation as recent year was 4.73% (KNHANES, ‘17), 6.96% (KCHS, ‘17), 2.29% (KOWEPS, ‘18), and 5.39% (KHP, ‘13). That of suicide attempt as recent year was 0.51% (KNHANES, ‘18), 0.32% (KCHS, ‘17), and 0.15% (KOWEPS, ‘18). Annual percentage change (APC) of suicidal ideation was -15.4% (KNHANES, ‘07–13, ‘15, ‘17), -2.5% (KCHS, ‘08–09, ‘13, ‘17), -10.8% (KOWEPS, ‘12–18), and -10.9% (KHP, ‘10–13). APC of suicide attempt was -4.4% (KNHANES, ‘07–13, ‘15-18), -4.4% (KCHS, ‘08–09, ‘13, ‘17), and -13.6% (KOWEPS, ‘12–18). APC of death by intentional self-harm was -1.25% (Statistics Korea, ‘07–18). All suicide-related indicators were found to be decreasing in the overall from 2009. Individuals with lower income level were more likely to experience suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Even though suicide rate had been continuously decreasing from its highest point in 2011 (suicide rate: 31.7 per 100,000 population) to 2017 (suicide rate: 24.3 per 100,000 population), it increased again in 2018 (suicide rate: 26.6 per 100,000 population). This information would be grounded on policy implementation for suicide prevention, thus continuous data observation is necessary.


Suicide; Suicidal ideation; Suicide; attempted; Income level; Korea
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