Suicide and Self-Harm Rise Only Among 20-Somethings

  • By Lee Joon-woo

    October 12, 2021 12:07

    The number of people in their 20s hospitalized last year for attempted suicide or self-harm rose nearly 15 percent even as overall numbers fell.

    According to National Medical Center data on Monday, 34,905 people were admitted to emergency rooms last year after trying to take their own lives or hurting themselves, down 3.9 percent from 2019.

    Cases declined 14.3 percent among people in their 50s, 13.8 percent in their 40s and 12.2 percent in their 70s, but among those in their 20s they rose 14.6 percent to 10,007.

    The increase was even more drastic among 20-something women at 21.1 percent, compared to 2.6 percent among men that age.

    Deaths from suicide overall also declined last year but increased among young people. The number of suicides per 100,000 people declined 4.5 percent to 25.7, but it increased among people in their 20s (12.8 percent) and teens (9.4 percent).

    This year the rise was even more marked. A total of 18,213 people were brought to emergency rooms for attempted suicide or self-harm in the first six months, and 30.6 percent of them were in their 20s. If this trend continues, it is expected to surpass the previous record of 36,336 people set in 2019.

    "Lockdown is causing psychological anxiety, depression and socioeconomic damage, and the danger signs are particularly acute among young people," Minjoo Party lawmaker Shin Hyun-young said. "We need to come up with measures to stop people from venting their emotional distress in drastic ways." 

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