Suicide rate in South Korea 2012-2017

In 2017, Korea's suicide rate was 24.3 cases per 100,000 population. The suicide rate has steadily decreased over the past years, however, South Korea's suicide rate is still the fourth highest in the world according to the World Health Organization. The male suicide rate is three times higher than the female suicide rate in South Korea. Additionally, South Korea’s female suicide rate is higher than in any other country in the world.

Mental health in South Korea

In the last decade, the population has been shaken by the suicides of many prominent South Korean politicians and celebrities; people who they had idolized. Economic poverty and physical disability were a few of the leading reasons to attempt suicide in the country. These factors are, in many cases, linked to mental illness. According to a survey conducted by one Korean institution, about one-third of the respondents said they had a mental health disorder such as depression, work-related stress or social anxiety. Nevertheless, very few people want to consult with a psychiatrist because of the stigma attached to mental health issues in South Korea. Alternatively, Koreans try to meet friends and family, enjoy their hobbies and get enough sleep to stay mentally healthy.

Government action

The South Korean government included suicide prevention as a national task for the first time in its history; aiming to reduce the suicide rate to 17 cases per 100,000 population by 2022. Accordingly, Seoul City carried out the “Bridge of Life” project for the Mapo Bridge, one of the most notorious locations for people attempting suicide. The project aims to pacify people who visit the bridge to end their lives by projecting inspirational texts and photos. The government also operates a “Korea Suicide Prevention Center” and provides services such as medical and psychological counseling for suicide survivors, as well as a 24-hour consultation hotline.

Deaths by suicide per 100,000 resident population in South Korea from 2012 to 2017

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Release date

July 2019


South Korea

Survey time period

2012 to 2017

Supplementary notes

Date given here is the day of data access.

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