On June 11th, Mr Park — a Korail subway driver – jumped from the Namyoung station and committed suicide. June 23rd, Mr Choi jumped from the roof of his apartment building. Three subway drivers have committed suicide since the start of 2012, and this appears to be due to the unresolved trauma of seeing people jump in front of their trains to commit suicide.
Subway drivers who witness suicide jumpers often show signs of panic disorder and extreme depression. A study revealed subway drivers who witness jumpers are thirteen times more likely to suffer from psychological trauma.
Although subway drivers who witness suicide jumpers are affected by grave psychological shocks, the rail company only gives them a leave of three days to recover. Co-workers may commemorate with them, but after that the subway drivers must get back on the railway. Psychological treatment, though desired, is often avoided as it is socially taboo and some drivers assume it may lead to disadvantages in the workplace.
New policies must be put in place to further prevent jumper suicides and protect subway drivers, both those who have witnessed suicides on their shifts and those that haven’t. Recommendations for new policies include installing safety screens at all stations, monitoring platforms for potential suicide jumpers, and providing comprehensive psychological treatment for subway drivers who have already witnessed suicide jumpers.