A suicide prevention campaign will be launched at the government-wide level in order to banish a dark shadow from Korean society with an average of 36 suicides a day, the highest rate among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In this regard, some people propose paying attention to cases where the information technology (IT) industry detects signs of suicide by combining online activities such as social network service (SNS) with artificial intelligence (AI) or offer mental health training courses through various meditation programs and applications.
According to the National Statistical Office and related industries, 13,092 Korean people committed suicide in 2016 and the government will implement a plan to reduce this number below 10,000 by 2022 as a national task. The government will promote the campaign as a social movement via the tentatively named "Life-Respect and Suicide Prevention Policy Council."
Especially, this problem becomes more serious in that suicides are the number-one cause of deaths among those in their teens and 20s and social and cultural factors such as suicide and income disparity have a great influence on suicide. In recent years, there has been a move to find signs of suicide in activities on SNS that young students are using.
Facebook has been expanding its suicide prevention program titled “AI Saving Lives” worldwide including Korea. The program has a function that sends a warning to a user or sends a danger warning to the user’s friends or affiliated local institutions when detecting a suicidal impulse or suspicious behavior is detected while checking contents such as the user's posts and videos with AI technology (pattern recognition).
"We made 'Suicide Prevention Tool' by gathering opinions from various experts including psychologists in the last 10 years," said a representative of Facebook Korea. “In Korea, in cooperation with the Central Suicide Prevention Center and the Health and Welfare Call Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, we are constantly discussing how to effectively prevent suicides."