Changing trends in suicide rates in South Korea from 1993 to 2016: A descriptive study.
Lee, S., Park, J., Lee, S., Oh, I., Choi, J., & Oh, C.
The South Korean government has recently
implemented policies to prevent suicide. However, there
were few studies examining the recent changing trends
in suicide rates. This study aims to examine the changing
trends in suicide rates by time and age group.
Design A descriptive study using nationwide mortality
Setting Data on the nationwide cause of death from 1993
to 2016 were obtained from Statistics Korea.
Participants People living in South Korea.
Interventions Implementation of national suicide
prevention policies (first: year 2004, second: year 2009).
Primary outcome measures Suicide was defined as
‘X60-X84’ code according to the ICD-10 code. Agestandardised
suicide rates were estimated, and a Joinpoint
regression model was applied to describe the trends in
Results From 2010 to 2016, the suicide rates in South
Korea have been decreasing by 5.5% (95% CI −10.3%
to −0.5%) annually. In terms of sex, the suicide rate for
men had increased by 5.0% (95% CI 3.6% to 6.4%)
annually from 1993 to 2010. However, there has been no
statistically significant change from 2010 to 2016. For
women, the suicide rate had increased by 7.5% (95%
CI 6.3% to 8.7%) annually from 1993 to 2009, but since
2009, the suicide rate has been significantly decreasing
by 6.1% (95% CI −9.1% to −3.0%) annually until 2016. In
terms of the age group, the suicide rates among women of
almost all age groups have been decreasing since 2010;
however, the suicide rates of men aged between 30 and
49 years showed continuously increasing trends.
Conclusion Our results showed that there were
differences in the changing trends in suicide rate by sex
and age groups. Our finding suggests that there was a
possible relationship between implementation of second national suicide prevention policies and a decline in suicide rate.