Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Culture of LIfe and Suicides

Korea is working hard to remove itself from the list of countries with the highest rate of suicides. Both Catholic papers gave space to the issue, noting especially the number of elderly who are committing suicide.

The Seoul Diocese conducted a symposium on methods to decrease the number of suicides in  society. According to the government office of statistics for every one hundred thousand citizens from the ages of 60 to 69 there are 42.4 persons who kill themselves. From 70 to 79  there are 73.1 persons and those over 80 there are  104.5 who commit suicide. Over 80 those who commit suicide number 4 times the average.

Department of Health and Human Services in a 2013 survey showed the largest group attempting suicide: 65.5 percent were the non-religious, Protestants 16.0 percent, Buddhists 9.4 percent, and Catholics 3.5 percent.

A professor at the Catholic University in the keynote speech said that those who had strong values and found meaning in life, and those that had a strong faith life had the lowest suicide rate. To lower the rate he stressed the need to increase the faith life of the elderly.

The Catholic Church and the Nowon District  (a residential district of Seoul, South Korea, Located in the northeastern part of the metropolitan city) have  worked together to decrease the number of suicides in the district with good results: in 2009, 180 deaths from suicide, and in 2013 it decreased to 150.

Civilian groups within the district have increased their cooperation, drawn up programs for the different age groups within the district,  made efforts  to find those who were at greater risk and work more closely with this group. A need was shown by the volunteer groups to have input by specialist in the field.  

The editorial in the Catholic Times mentioned that 11.2 percent of those over 60 have thought of suicide. Chief reasons were health and financial difficulties. With society getting older, those in the country have more difficulty than those in the city:   more  alienation, struggles and loneliness. We can't just see the suicide as an individual problem.

In conclusion was the need for the church to get more involved in their work with the elderly, form groups that are in sympathy with their goals, efforts to establish a social safety net, and extend the culture of life movement.

No comments:

Post a Comment