Strengthening primary care for mental health, but focusing only on medical care instead of comprehensive approach including prevention, health promotion, and rehabilitation…
Gov’t to abolish discrimination against mentally ill
Measures set to improve mental health
By Lee Kyung-min
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Thursday that it will change rules and systems that may discriminate against people with mental health issues, in an attempt to help such people receive necessary treatment without fear of being disadvantaged in insurance or employment.
This is part of the government’s measures to help people with such problems, amid growing concerns that an increasing number of suicides occur due to mental illness.
“In Korea, people with mental health problems are reluctant to seek help from psychiatrists due to social stigma,” a ministry official said. “Medical records of their treatment have also often caused discrimination against them in getting jobs or insurance coverage.”
The government will run awareness campaigns to tackle prejudice against these people, encouraging them to seek treatment earlier before their problems worsen.
People will be able to consult doctors at internal medicine clinics about depression or anxiety, rather than psychiatrists, considering many with mental illness suffer from physical symptoms as well, including sleep disorders.
With the measures, the government plans to lower the suicide rate from the current 27.3 out of 100,000 people to 20 by 2020.
According to the ministry’s latest survey in 2011, 24.7 percent of Koreans suffer from mental health problems including anxiety, alcoholism and eating disorders at least once in their lifetimes.