August 19, 2010 07:06
The number of suicides among youngsters is on a steep rise. Last year 202 people who killed themselves were still at school, up 47 percent from 137 in 2008, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said Sunday.
The figure was around 100 to 140 until 2008 but surpassed 200 for the first time in 2009. High school students made up the largest share or 140, followed by 56 middle school students and 6 elementary school children.
Park Hee-keun, a ministry official, said, "Impulsive and emotionally unstable adolescents seem to have been affected by the 'Werther Effect' with the increasing number of suicides committed by celebrities." Since 2005, many celebrities including actresses Lee Eun-joo, Jung Da-bin, Choi Jin-sil, actors Ahn Jae-hwan, Choi Jin-young, Park Yong-ha and singer Yuni committed suicide.
Among reasons for juvenile suicides, family conflict accounted for 69 cases; depression for 27; poor performance at school 23; romantic relationships 12; illness or physical problems 7; and bullying or violence 4.
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