Journal List > J Korean Med Assoc > v.62(2) > 1116733

Kim, Jhon, Kim, Paik, Kim, and Yoon: A social psychiatric approach to suicide prevention

Abstract

Suicide is the fifth-leading cause of death in Korea, accounting for 4.4% of all deaths. Therefore, suicide is a serious medical problem, as well as a social problem. In this paper, we provide a social psychiatric perspective on suicide and recommend suicide prevention strategies based on programs with roots in the Gwangju mental health pilot project and an analysis of suicide patterns in Seoul. First, early intervention and active case management are mandatory to prevent suicide among individuals with mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and alcohol use disorder. To this end, mental health and welfare centers, addiction management centers, suicide prevention centers, and care program after a suicide attempt in the emergency department of general hospitals should collaborate via a multidisciplinary approach. Second, crisis intervention should be provided in collaboration with the police, government officials, and mental health agencies to people who are at immediate risk of suicide. Additionally, case management services should be expanded for individuals who are treated at hospitals for psychiatric illness. Third, social welfare services should be offered to low-income individuals at risk of suicide. Fourth, the mass media should restrict reporting about suicide and follow the relevant reporting guidelines. Finally, access to methods of committing suicide, such as charcoal for burning and agrichemical poisoning, should be regulated by the government. Proactive psychosocial strategies implemented with government support will prevent suicide-related deaths and decrease the suicide rate in Korea.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1

Relationship between suicide rate and the proportion of residents with mentally disabled persons in administrative districts of Seoul. Pearson r=0.563, P=0.003. Suicide rate: the average of recent 3-year data from 2015 to 2017 [18]. Proportion of residents with mentally disabled persons [19] = (number of residents with disability registration for mental disorder / number of total population in each administrative district) × 100.

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Figure 2

Relationship between suicide and problem drinking rates in administrative districts of Seoul. Pearson r=0.606, P=0.001. Suicide and problem drinking rates [1824]: the average of recent 3-year data from 2015 to 2017.

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Figure 3

Relationship between suicide rate and proportion of basic livelihood security recipients in administrative districts of Seoul. Pearson r=0.797, P<0.001. Suicide rate: the average of recent 3-year data from 2015 to 2017 [18]. Proportion of basic livelihood security recipients [33] = (number of basic livelihood security recipients / number of total population in each administrative district) × 100.

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Figure 4

Relationship between suicide rate and average prices of apartment in administrative district of Seoul. Pearson r=−0.664, P<0.001. Suicide rate: the average of recent 3-year data from 2015 to 2017 [18]. Average prices of apartment [34]: the average of apartment sale price per 3.3 m2.

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Figure 5

Rates for specific method of suicide for recent 10 years in Korea [37].

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