South Korea prides itself in the academic achievement of its young people. The country's 15-year-olds have the highest reading scores among developed countries, they rank third in proficiency in science and mathematics, and more than 80 percent of them will go to college. The glowing statistics, however, has a dark side: Korea's youth has one of the highest suicide rates. Suicide, in fact, is the leading cause of death among Koreans aged 15 to 24.
This year, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the country’s most prestigious university, lost four of its students (and one professor) to suicide. For a high school kid who has been trained to constantly aim for academic excellence, getting into KAIST is a dream come true. But living this dream means a relentless struggle to survive the rigors of a highly competitive environment. The suffocating pressure of schoolwork is blamed as a big factor in pushing the students to end their lives.
Paul Cameron, "Study on Gay Death Rates/Age," Family Research Institute, 1992. Ironically, Cameron notes that a proclivity towards suicide among gay adults contributes toward their early death rates.
• Fiscal Austerity Policies Kill
Is anyone surprised that fiscal austerity has led to an increase in suicides in
countries that have imposed draconian budget cuts on the backs of working
people and the poor? Something else for the “fiscal conservatives” to brag about!
• A No Holds Barred Take-Down of the NFL Over Attitudes Towards Bullying, Mental Health, and Suicide
I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am.
• As Suicide Rate Rises in U.S. Veterans are Less of Total
This seems like a strange story to me, as if this is good news. Seems
like bad news all around.
• Telling the Truth About A Father’s Suicide
Newspaper reporter Laurie Loisel writes about how her family chose not to hide their father’s suicide and included his cause of death in his obituary. Laurie’s family is a role model for how to deal with a loved one’s suicide without shame.
• Department of Defense Reviews 900+ Suicide Prevention Programs to
See What Works and What Doesn’t
This is just the kind of research that the government should be doing since we know that suicide prevention hotlines don’t prevent suicide and looking for warning signs is for the most part useless as well.
David Shaffer, "Teen Suicide and Gays in the Military," unpublished paper from which the article in The New Yorker above (see footnote no. 1) was derived, March 22, 1993, p. 6. Shaffer is Irving Philips Professor of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University.
•Curbing Suicide With Sensible Gun Regulations
Why are we so afraid of the gun lobby when we know that
sensible regulations will reduce suicides?
• Do Suicide Prevention Screening Tests Work? Federal Panel Casts Doubts
Well, that’s depressing news, especially given the time, effort, and resources devoted to screening tests.
Gibson, op. cit., p. (3)-115, citing Parris, F., "Some Die Young," Washington Blade, May 17, 1985. In 1988, a total of 2,059 adolescents ages 15-19 and 243 children under age 15 committed suicide, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. These figures were reported by Ann F. Garland and Edward Zigler ("Adolescent Suicide Prevention," American Psychologist, February, 1993). The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in 1991, the latest year for which suicide statistics are available, the breakdown is as follows according to age categories: 5-9 (1); 10-14 (265); 15-19 (1,899); 20-24 (2,852) for a total of 5,017 (phone interview with author, January 31, 1994). Even if we accept this expanded definition of "youth" to include 24-year-olds, the figure in Gibson's report of 3,000 annual gay youth suicides would mean that well over half of all youth suicides are by homosexuals-a patent absurdity.
• Is There A Link Between Increase in Loneliness and Increase in Suicide Rate?
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat thinks so. Worth reading and thinking about.
attorney general Janet Reno, Oregon physicians have used their federal prescribing licenses from the Drug Enforcement Administration to order controlled substances - usually secobarbital - for use in terminally ill patients' suicides.