A firefighter in South Korea is part of an effort to save this woman’s life as she teeters on the railing, contemplating whether or not to jump and end her life. His solution may be a little unorthodox, but it’s hard to fault the guy for saving a woman’s life.
While suicide is a widespread problem across the world, many people think of Japan as having the highest number of suicides in Asia. While statistics and rankings here often change year by year, South Korea has been higher on the list than Japan when it comes to suicides, especially among women. Historically, South Korea comes out at the second worst country for suicides, though in 2015 it went down to number 10, most likely due to a concerted effort to reduce suicides in 2014 by the South Korean government.
Unlike this video, suicide among the elderly is actually quite common in South Korea, largely due to the fact that over half of the nation’s elderly live under the poverty line. Add hunger and inaccessibility to basic needs, on top of being a financial burden to their family — suicide is often their choice of a “solution.”
In South Korea, women are more prone to attempt suicide, but men are generally more successful at doing it. Tight gun laws govern the country, so using guns to commit suicide is relatively rare — only one-third of South Korean suicides are violent in this way. The mass majority of suicides occur from some type of pesticide poisoning — according to the World Health Organization (WHO), around “three million cases of pesticide poisoning occur [worldwide] every year, resulting in an excess of 250,000 deaths.” They also mention that, “In attempted suicide, which is considerably more frequent than completed suicide, pesticide poisoning results in temporary or permanent disability.”
Other common methods of suicide in South Korea include hanging and of course, as seen in this video, jumping from a high place.
Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, who was in office over South Korea from February 2003-February 2008, killed himself in 2009. After his presidency was over, multiple investigations regarding corruption and bribery permeated every aspect of his life, leading to interviews with himself, his wife, son and friendly politicians from when he was the president. Due to this and many other factors, Roh committed suicide by jumping off a 150 ft mountain-top called Bueong’i Bawi. He was found alive, but died in the hospital later. His suicide letter read:
I am in debt to so many people. I have caused too great a burden to be placed upon them. I can’t begin to fathom the countless agonies down the road. The rest of my life would only be a burden for others. I am unable to do anything because of poor health. I can’t read, I can’t write. Do not be too sad. Isn’t life and death all a part of nature? Do not be sorry. Do not feel resentment toward anyone. It is fate. Cremate me. And leave only a small tombstone near home. I’ve thought on this for a long time.”
As South Korea continues in their efforts to lower suicide rates, they might need to depend on more practical men and women like the firefighter in this video, as will many other countries who need a little tough love to save a life.
Video and featured image courtesy of YouTube, image altered by author.