As we know, suicide is a huge public health issue that affects not only the person doing it but the community and country. Suicide as we know is the act of taking your own life, and some countries experience more of their people doing it more often than other countries sadly, but why? South Korea is a good example of rising suicide rates as and the social problems that come with it within the country itself and globally. Although, South Korea has made huge progress in the past 50-60 years since World War 2 had ended and it probably has one of the highest-ranking economies. However, with this spike of profound economic growth has also brought along a lot of social problems, like suicide. These suicide rates are mainly within the adolescents/teens and near elderly age.
The following is information showing how the increase of suicide rate in South Korea: “South Korea has seen increasing trends since the 1997 financial crisis. The suicide rates among men were 15.3 per 100,000 people in 1986 and 5.8 per 100,000 people among women. By 2005 there was an increase of 98% in the suicide rates among men with numbers at 30.3 per 100,000 people and 124% among women at 13 per 100,000 people. The average number of people committing suicide rose to 24.7 per 100,000 that year and to 31.7 per 100,000 in 2012. It is known that the number of people committing suicide is highest among the elderly (above 65 years of age) but in the last 3 decades, the proportional increase has been the most among the younger groups (below 45 years of age). Between the ages of 14 and 25 suicide is the leading cause of death in South Korea.” (Page 8) . Why are the rates so high? Probably because of daily things like, education, stress, work ethics, mental illness and social media are all things that are reasons for such high mortality rates amongst all ages.
To begin with the first reason, education in the South Korean culture has one of the most intensive school systems which is a huge part of where all the adolescents are obtaining their stress from spending 16 hours a day revolving around academics. Having high grades is a very big thing in their culture and how family looks at you. All this time spent on trying to perfect your grades causes a lot of stress on kids at such a young age. South Korea is also known for “high-stress professional” workspaces and overtime this adds up also including trying to take care of your physical, financial and mental health is way too much which is reason why most suicide victims have mental illnesses, which correlates to the elderly deaths, which is where the highest percentage of mortality rates in this country. According to the South Korean Health and Welfare Ministry that 90% of the suicide victims in 2016 had some sort of mental illness something like anxiety, depression, etc.
This research can also be seen at through a Economic and Culture/Identity Lenses To begin with the economic lenses, every time someone commits that’s one less person working in the nation, which slows down the economy. The most economically detrimentally type of suicides are the young adult suicides because young kids and children are expected to grow up and go into this working economy, so people invest time and money and education into them, which is all good but because of all this stress placed upon them the country is not receiving much benefit from all this because the higher these deaths go for the young adults the less people that are joining South Koreas workforce which decreases the “dependency ratio” . Obviously knowing if someone has committed suicide whether its their family, friend, or coworker it is usually very depressing and takes a while to grief over. This is going to cause a great amount of decrease economic productivity due to the emotions and thoughts they are going through.
Every time a company loses an employee this also incurs a spending cost to search for someone to fill that position. Korea’s rise of unemployment during their economic crisis in 97-98 was when a spike appeared in suicides, people were going from being high class to dropping down to working class and not being able to handle such change the gap between rich and poor and greatly gotten bigger, many families were also experiencing divorces as well. Culture in South Korea is also very different, again revolving around the 1997-98 economic crisis, they had a “alone” type of trend which was considered cool. Doing everything alone such as going out, eating out, travelling. Everyone was isolated and just did their own thing this was widespread among all young kids, and elders while also being very poor. This was more detrimental for elders because during this crisis all the elders that had put their money into their children and go out and work and eventually care for their parents were now all unemployed and could not take care of them, or for adults that already were not able to anymore.
Elders commit suicide because they no longer want to be a problem in their children’s lives, in a financial point of view. Nearly 30% of those that take their Now that we are in the 21st century culture has changed and tradition of children caring for their parents has diminished away due to westernization and how in the US we have elderly care home and nurses and things like that. It is clear that suicides affect the country greatly in a economic and social/culturally point of view and that the country should go great measures in repairing this issue and also as well as keeping their outstanding economy as best as possible. South Korea has recently in 2016 very minimally spent money on helping mental health within the country, only about $7 million and majority of it went to mental health hospitals, this money was nearly not enough to help the amount of deaths that were occurring. I say a better preventative measure for a country to help stop this is to spend an abundant of money, such as Japan did spending nearly $130 million on mental health awareness, this helped people not only in hospitals but also those that needed help out in the public working environment.
South Korea was eager to seek better results fast so they decided to also try and work out better workspace/working conditions and school schedules allowing the younger kids to live a little less stressful life and giving out more out for those that needed treatment for depression and other mental illnesses.