South Korea, Suicide & Culture of Shame

Was reading an article, talking about how South Korea have a very high rate of suicide. Especially in recent years, there were more and more young people in South Korea who attempted suicide. According to Emile Durkheim, there are four types of suicide: egoistic (tend to be people who isolated themselves from society); fatalistic (over-oppress drive to suicide); altruistic (collective suicides) and Anomic (how social changes/uphavels in life drive to suicides). These applies to different suicides within South Koreas, however all people who attempted suicide all faced a single biggest problem – stigma of seeking psychological help.

According to what have been written in NY Times about Korean and suicide, Korean often found suicide very degrading – suicide in certain culture being understood as an act of weakness, they deserved no sympathy for such stupidity. There is also a rumour going around that women with history of depression, often have high chances of losing custody to childcare regarding divorce. As a result many patients feared for being “recorded”, which made them even more deterred from seeking help.

Yet beside failure to see the structural problems that brought upon citizens, awareness and supports for mental health remain very little. Instead of being open up to people such as counsellors, they often kept the problems to themselves and force their way over the problems without saying much. Even there is an amount of acceptance on mental health, it at the moment only exist through highly educated ones – as they are more familiar with the “Western psychological helps”. As a result, suicide remain sky-high.



  1. I believe it is everywhere in the world but it just that we do not ‘hear’ it. Times has change and peer pressure and other (shame too) from parents, friends and society is making this a big problem.


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