A Call for Suicide Prevention
A Call for Suicide Prevention
  • 임리영 기자
  • 승인 2005.10.05 00:00
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▲ Without effective suicide prevention, students believe there is no place to seek help and some attempt to take their lives. Provided by the Segye Times

   The college campus has long been the epicenter of energy, hope, and passion for the next generation. Yet this image of dynamism and cheerfulness hides another stark reality: the increasing likelihood for students to commit suicide. Recent studies conducted by Doctor Park Myung-soo at Maison Progresse (a research institute for human development and psychological counseling) show this trend.
   At least half of the student population in most universities is at risk of committing suicide, according to Park's study of college students in Seoul and Daegu. Park surveyed 349 students, asking questions regarding their susceptibility to committing suicide.
   Park categorized students who were liable to commit suicide into four categories according to their symptoms: 1) Depression, loneliness, and girlfriend/boyfriend problems which are easy to observe yet difficult to control; 2) Sexual abuse, mental and physical abuse, and apprehension towards facing reality which are all difficult to observe and control; 3) Physical stress, anxiety caused by being stalked by others, and violent thoughts, and behavior which are hard to detect but easy to control; and 4) Stress caused by schoolwork and a high standard of academic expectations, which are both easily detectable and controllable.
   All of the symptoms mentioned above can be cured by counseling by professionals according to Park if the school sets an environment that is easily approachable for students to seek help. However, despite the high potentials for suicide in college, most universities do not offer effective help for students to receive help. The Ewha Student Counseling Center does invite students to freely talk about their emotional dilemmas with professors and counseling staff. Nonetheless, the center does not have any specific plan to detect and treat students who are vulnerable. Also, Chung-ang University, like most universities in Korea, is in lack of a sufficient counseling  center or a sufficient suicide prevention measures. Cho Min-kyung (Journalism, 2) who lost a friend to suicide at the beginning of this year due to academic pressure says, "I never knew my friend had inner conflicts and was suffering. If the school had provided a counseling system or a program that let her peers know about her difficulties, they would not have brought about the consequence that they did."
   Park asserts the need for suicide prevention surveys for freshmens at the begining of the  year. "Like the universities in the United States, the Korean universities must also conduct surveys to see their vulnerability."

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