President Yoon pledges not to leave individuals’ mental health issues alone

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) — President Yoon Seok-yeol pledged Tuesday not to leave individuals’ mental health issues alone, and emphasized investing state resources in tackling the problem.

Yoon made the remarks during a meeting on mental health policies at the former presidential complex in Cheongdae, which brought together about 100 people from the public and private sectors, including those who have recovered from mental illness.

The meeting was arranged to address the country’s serious mental health issues, which are reflected in the high suicide rate, the highest among OECD member countries, and the low happiness rate.

“I think it’s time for the state to work for people’s mental health,” Yoon said. He added: “We should not leave individuals to care about their mental health issues alone, but rather we should make it an important part of the state’s agenda and actively seek solutions to it.”

Yoon particularly noted the importance of mental health for the country’s future growth, noting the low birth rate, and pledged to redesign the state’s support system to improve services at every stage from prevention and treatment to recovery.

The President also touched on plans to improve access to professional psychological counseling services, including by providing counseling services to 80,000 people next year, and to 1 million people during his term, which ends in 2027.

Yoon promised to double the number of hospital beds designated for emergency mental health patients and improve rehabilitation, employment and social care services, with the aim of helping patients reintegrate into society.

In order to assist in these efforts, Yoon said he will form a new presidential commission to formulate relevant policies, oversee investments and conduct a wide-ranging campaign to fight bias against mental health issues.

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2023-12-05 09:21:09

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