Korea Tackles a Mushrooming Problem

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Science  23 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6110, pp. 1026-1027
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6110.1026

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In the gloomy realm of suicide research, South Korea stands out for its high suicide rate among young women and the elderly. But perhaps the most alarming feature about the trend is how quickly the suicide rate has accelerated, from fewer than 10 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in 1990 to 31.2 per 100,000 in 2010. Suicide leapt from the 10th most frequent cause of death in South Korea to fourth; it is now the leading killer of those aged 10 to 39. There are hints that rapid socioeconomic changes, a burgeoning elderly population, and cultural influences all play roles in the surge in suicide in Korea, both in South Korea and elsewhere in the region.