One in 10 elderly people have suicidal thoughts: poll

One out of 10 senior citizens have had thoughts about attempting suicide in the past year, a survey showed Tuesday.

According to the survey conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) on 853 people aged over 65, 10.3 percent said they have felt an impulse to take their own lives.

The survey showed 10.1 percent of people aged between 65 and 74 have such an impulse, while 11.4 percent of people aged over 75 also said so.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 representing the most anxiety, the average anxiety level of the respondents came to 5.4, according to the survey.

As for the reason, health issues were the most anxiety-causing factor with 6.46, followed by financial reasons with 6.38 and other psychological issues with 5.9.

Elderly people in the low-income bracket consider suicide much more than people at higher income levels, the survey showed.

More than 30 percent of the respondents said they sleep or rest to resolve such issues, the survey showed.

"Anxiety and psychological health of the elderly are directly related to various social ills," said Chae Soo-mi, a researcher at the KHASA. "It is time to roll out various measures to take care of the mental health of the elderly people."

According to related data by Statistics Korea, suicide was the No. 1 cause of death among the younger population in the country aged 15-24 in 2011. The suicide rate per 100,000 in the age group stood at 13, up from 7.7 tallied in 2001.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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