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Church 'needs suicide action plan'

Country's rising death-rate suggests social causes, bishop says

Church 'needs suicide action plan'
A symposium about suicide and Church's role by Committee for Life of Seoul archdiocese report, Seoul

April 29, 2011

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The Church needs to act to try and bring down South Korea's alarming suicide rate,a seminar yesterday was told. "We all need to reflect on why we are brought in this world, and realize the value of our life that God gave us," Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung said in his welcome speech at the vent organized by the Committee for Life of Seoul Archdiocese. The number of suicides among young people and the elderly are increasing and it implies "many social reasons beyond their individual reasons," the bishop said. In his keynote presentation, Professor Isidore Meng Kwang-ho said the suicide rate among South Koreans was 31 among 100,000, the highest of the 33 OECD countries. The government established a five-year plan in 2004 to prevent suicide, but it has not been effective, he said. The National Assembly passed a suicide prevention law last March. In the past, the Church condemned suicide as a sin, but recently shifted its focus to prevention. The professor of Preventive Medicine of the Catholic University of Korea picked the National Congress for Life in 2010 as the model for Church efforts. The congress was jointly organized by the Korean bishops' conference and the Seoul archdiocesan Committee for Life, and urged every diocese to establish a similar committee. More than 120 people attended, surprising Father Simon Jee Young-hyun, secretary general of the Seoul archdiocesan life committee. He was expecting just 30 and the big turn-out suggested  "great concern over the suicide problem". Related report Suicide attempts need healing not punishment KO14041
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