Korea is now second only to Lithuania when it comes to suicide rates, breaking a 12-year streak of holding the highest suicide rate in the world, an OECD report showed last Friday.
Lithuania held the highest suicide rate with 29 people out of 100,000 committing suicide, followed by Korea with 28.7 people, and the Russian Federation with 21, the report showed.
Although it stepped down from number one, Korea still maintains a suicide rate 2.4-times higher than the OECD average of 12 people out of 100,000 committing suicide, the report said.
Korea also had one of the highest rates of deaths of mentally ill patients. Deaths of males with schizophrenia vs. fatalities of the general male population showed Korea has an excess mortality rate of 4.1, surpassed only by Norway (5.3) and Finland (4.5). Excess mortality from bipolar disorder for males also showed Korea has the second highest rate of 4.0, exceeded only by Norway’s 4.1.
People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have a higher mortality rate than the general population, which necessitates “a multifaceted approach, including primary care prevention of physical ill health, better integration of physical and mental health care, behavioral interventions and changing professional attitudes,” the OECD report said.
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