Suicide is a wretched problem

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Suicide is a wretched problem


He came from a poor family, but he was a diligent man. He had a day job and went to night school to finish college. He found a stable job and got married. But his happiness lasted no more than ten years. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, he was laid off. So he started up his own business, but his partner betrayed him. As he struggled to make a comeback, his wife dealt the final blow. She demanded divorce and took all the remaining assets with her. He was homeless and pledged to take revenge on his business partner and ex-wife.

He kept a deadly weapon in his car and thought about killing them and killing himself. One day, he read a newspaper article about a man who murdered his ex-wife and mother-in-law. Then he thought of his daughter. He changed his mind as he didn’t want his daughter to be haunted by the tragic fate of her parents. He decided to disappear. He drank 20 bottles of hard liquor in a tiny rental room, but three days later, he woke up. So he went to the Philippines, thinking he would enjoy scuba diving before killing himself. He went down 40 meters under water and took off his air tank. Just as he was about to pass out, British and German divers who were swimming 20 meters above him spotted him. They rescued him and brought him out of the water.

On April 13, the Seoul Suicide Prevention Center held a prevention meeting presided by Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik. The 45-year-old man of failed suicide attempt told his story in front of the specialists. He said he was reluctant to attend the meeting because he did not want to be reminded of his painful past.

After experiencing two life crises, he now works at a social welfare facility. He has transferred to a college and earned a social worker’s certification. He tells his story to the homeless to give them hope. Every day on average 42.6 people kill themselves, and the suicide rate here is the highest among the nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2010, 15,566 people committed suicide. Prime Minister Kim said that suicide is not a personal matter but a serious social issue and an urgent national challenge. On April 14, the day after the meeting, a woman in her 70s killed herself by throwing herself off Owl’s Rock in Bongha Village, Gimhae. A professional soccer player also killed himself in Incheon. These two cases made the news because of the location and profession, and there may be 40 more suicides that were not reported. This is the wretched reality.

The author is an editorial writer at the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun
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