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S. Korea's suicide rate dropping but still highest among OECD states

South Korea's suicide rate remains the highest among developed nations despite declines in recent years, comparative statistics from welfare authorities indicated on Oct. 29, 2018.

An analysis of health data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Health Insurance Service, showed that as of 2016, 25.8 out of 100,000 South Koreans committed suicide. The number is the highest among (OECD) member countries whose average suicide rate was 11.6.

Latvia and Slovenia had the second-highest rate of 18.1. Japan had 16.6, Hungary 16.2 and Belgium 15.8.

Turkey had the lowest rate of 2.1.

Statistics show that the suicide rate for OECD countries has been falling since 1985. For South Korea, the number has generally been rising since 2000 but has started to drop since 2010.

Specifically, the country's suicide rate was 29.5 in 2004, 29.9 in 2005, 26.2 in 2006, 28.7 in 2007, 29 in 2008 and 33.8 in 2009. It fell to 33.5 in 2010, 33.3 in 2011, 29.1 in 2012, 28.7 in 2013, 26.7 in 2014 and 25.8 in 2015.

The government in January launched an inter-ministerial action plan to bring down the rate to 17 by 2022.

Cho Kyung-hee  edt@koeapost.com

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