NGO calls for education to cut youth suicide rate


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The John Tung Foundation urged yesterday — World Suicide Prevention Day — that the government and educational institutions in Taiwan enhance life education for young people, as the suicide rate among this group has continued to climb despite a decline in the national rate.

According to Department of Health statistics, 3,933 suicides were recorded in Taiwan in 2007, a rate of 14.7 per 100,000 people, which represented a decline for the first time since 1998.

While the general suicide rate dropped last year, the rate among young people aged 15 to 24 increased by 2.8 percent, which was an alarm bell for youth suicide prevention groups.

Suicide is the ninth most common cause of death in Taiwan.

According to Yeh Ya-hsing, chief of the John Tung Foundation mental health section, the rising suicide rate among young people could possibly be attributed to the economic downturn and that age group’s inability to adapt. People in the 15-24 age bracket are usually just entering professional life and they face serious challenges in the society, she added.

“To address the rising youth suicide rate, we have to enhance life education and assure young people that there is always a solution to every problem,” Yeh stressed, adding that youth should be given more opportunities to express their emotions.