|Professor Kim Boong-nyun|
A survey from Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) showed that approximately two out of 10 teenagers have suicidal thoughts, while some of the students act on such feelings.
The survey was part of research led by Professor Kim Boong-nyun of the neuropsychiatry department at the hospital, in cooperation with doctors from Ilsan Paik Hospital, Daegu Catholic University Medical Center and Jeju National University Hospital.
The study aimed to assess the mental health of elementary, middle and high school students who live in four cities --Seoul, Goyang, Daegu and Jeju.
As part of the research, the team analyzed the prevalence of pediatric and adolescent mental illness and associated risk factors among 4,057 elementary, middle and high school students from September 2016 to December 2017.
The survey showed that 17.6 percent of students have thought about suicide. Of the 17.6 percent, 3.7 percent of the students hurt themselves with suicidal intention, while 5.8 percent hurt themselves even though they did not intend to commit suicide.
The primary research also revealed that the most prevalent diagnoses in Korean students were a hostile rebellious disorder (5.7 percent), followed by specific phobia (5.3 percent), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (3.1 percent), and tic disorder (2.6 percent),
“The risk of suicide and self-injury was higher with severe depression and anxiety, and was also significantly correlated with externalizing symptoms expressed as rebellious or aggressive behavior,” the research team said.
The team also pointed out that although domestic children and adolescents suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, only 17 percent of the respondents asked for help from experts, and 6 percent had received medication therapy through pediatric psychiatry.
”Child and adolescent mental health determine the future of our society,” Professor Kim said. “This study has implications for countermeasures against childhood and adolescent mental illnesses and grounds for the introduction of healthcare and educational welfare services.”
A systematic, nationwide epidemiological survey needs to be conducted at least once every three years, Kim added.