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Suicide is leading cause of death among South Korean teens, says report

South Korea’s suicide rate has been increasing since the early 1990s.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   April 28, 2015 at 12:17 PM
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SEOUL, April 28 (UPI) -- Suicide is the leading cause of death among South Korean teenagers and young people, a government survey stated on Tuesday.

Yonhap reported in 2013 those between the ages of nine and 24 experienced an increased rate of suicide than a decade earlier.

For this age category, the suicide rate rose to 7.8 per 100,000, up from 7.4 in 2003. The Korea Times reported nearly eight percent of young people surveyed said they have contemplated suicide in 2014.

In 2003, traffic accidents were cited as the leading cause of death for South Korean teens, with a rate of 9.6 per 100,000. Car accidents slipped to second place in 2013, reduced to 4.4 per 100,000, followed by cancer in the third spot.

South Korea's suicide rate has been increasing since the early 1990s, reaching an all-time high in 1998 at the height of the Asian financial crisis. Since 2000, however, the rate has been growing again.

Young South Koreans have said economic issues and the pressure to get top marks in school were behind the chronic stress they experienced in their daily lives, with more than 60 percent saying they suffered from school-related stress.

Among middle and high school respondents, 9.2 percent said they have smoked more than once and 16.7 percent said they have drunk alcohol as legal minors.

In the United States suicide is the third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents and homicide were the leading causes of death for U.S. teens in 2010.

Among Native Americans ages 15 to 24, however, suicide rates are more than double the national average, reported The Christian Science Monitor, with alcoholism and drug abuse, bullying, violence, and high unemployment at fault for the decline in mental health among Native American teens.

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