S. Korean school suicides total 139 last year

Nearly 140 South Korean school students killed themselves in 2012, according to a new government report that cited family problems, depression and exam stress as the main triggers.

The report, published this week by the Education Ministry, covered all students from elementary to high school.

The figure of 139 suicides recorded last year was the lowest for three years, but still worryingly high in a country with one of the world's highest overall .

Of the total, 88 were , 48 from middle school and just three from elementary school.

About 40 percent were motivated by family-related problems, while 16 percent were triggered by and 11.5 percent by exam-related stress.

Dozens of teenagers kill themselves every year around the time of South Korea's hyper-competitive college entrance exam, unable to cope with the intense scholastic and parental pressure to secure a place in a top university.

Last year's student suicide figure compared with 202 suicides in 2009, 146 in 2010 and 150 in 2011.

South Korea has the highest suicide rate among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, with an average of 33.5 people per 100,000 taking their lives in 2010, far higher than Hungary (23.3) and Japan (21.2) which ranked second and third.

The figure for South Korea equates to nearly 50 suicides a day and shows a steep increase from 2000 when the average incidence of suicide was 13.6 people per 100,000.

The capital Seoul has installed anti- monitoring devices on bridges over the Han river after 196 people jumped to their deaths last year.

Related Stories

Suicides hit all-time high in Singapore in 2012

date Jul 12, 2013

Suicides in Singapore hit an all-time high of 487 in 2012 as more young people bogged down by stress and relationship woes took their own lives, a charity group dealing with the problem said Friday.

China's suicide rate 'among highest in world'

date Sep 08, 2011

A person tries to kill themselves in China every two minutes, the government and state media said Thursday, giving the country one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

2012 US military suicides hit a record high of 349

date Jan 14, 2013

Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will worsen this year.

Recommended for you

Depression, suicide and the workplace - Q&A

date Mar 27, 2015

Expert opinions on the potential link between depression and the suspected mass murder-suicide of a Germanwings co-pilot who flew an Airbus into the French Alps Tuesday, killing all 150 people on board:

Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease

date Mar 26, 2015

In a study of more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.