Gov’t takes measures to reduce rate of suicide

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Gov’t takes measures to reduce rate of suicide

The government on Tuesday announced a package of measures aimed at significantly reducing deaths from suicide, traffic accidents and industrial disasters over the next five years.

President Moon Jae-in has called for such measures to make South Korea a safer place to live.

Officials said the country ranks low among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of the number of deaths from the three causes. In 2016, a total of 13,092 people died from suicide, 4,292 from traffic accidents and 969 from industrial disasters.

On Tuesday, the government said the package of preventive measures is aimed at reducing the number of suicide deaths by 30 percent, traffic accident deaths by 50 percent, and industrial disaster deaths by 50 percent by 2022.

“The government declared this year as the first year of the three projects aimed at protecting people’s lives,” said Hong Nam-ki, minister for government policy coordination, said during a briefing on the measures.

Under the measures, the government plans to look into all suicide deaths between 2012 and 2016, totaling about 70,000, to determine motivations, regional characteristics and other aspects, in an effort to come up with better preventive measures.

The government also aims to work together with religious and civic groups to train about 1 million people as suicide prevention “gatekeepers,” while expanding depression checkups in regular medical examinations offered under national health insurance.

Officials said they hope these measures will bring down the number of suicide deaths per 100,000 people from 26 to 17 by 2022.

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