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Dublin: 15°C Wednesday 22 September 2021

South Korea to criminalise suicide pacts

The criminalisation of suicide pacts was among a series of measures approved by the cabinet today.

Myeong-Dong shopping street in Seoul, South Korea.
Myeong-Dong shopping street in Seoul, South Korea.
Image: shutterstock_739950931

SOUTH KOREA IS to make organising a suicide pact a criminal offence as the government seeks to reduce one of the world’s highest suicide rates.

The rate in Asia’s fourth-largest economy has increased sharply since 2000 to 25.6 a year per 100,000 people, twice the average for Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.

Prominent suicides regularly make headlines but most victims are elderly in a country where social safety nets are weak.

The criminalisation of suicide pacts was among a series of measures approved by the cabinet today. TV dramas and web cartoons glorifying suicides will also be discouraged, and suicide prevention education will be required for all soldiers.

Seoul aims to lower the suicide rate to 17 per 100,000 by 2022.

The government said more than 90% who took their own lives sent warning signals in advance and suicides could largely be prevented through people paying attention.

Examinations for depression will be included in mandatory annual health checkups for all South Koreans from their 40s to their 70s.

If you need to talk, please contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s) 

© AFP 2018

Read: 4 well-known Irish faces on the impact alcohol had on their mental health >

Read: Suicide survivor Kevin Hines: ‘Don’t silence the pain. You can get past it, one day at a time’ >

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