Yoon vows to expand systemic support for mental health services

June 26, 2024

President Yoon Suk Yeol said Wednesday the government will step up systemic support for mental health services encompassing prevention, treatment and recovery to assist those in need.

Yoon made the remark during a meeting of the presidential committee on mental health policy to address worsening mental health issues, as illustrated by the highest suicide rate among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“It is important to detect depression and anxiety in daily life at an early stage to prevent them from developing into mental illnesses,” Yoon said during the meeting at the National Center for Mental Health in Seoul.

Yoon said the government will launch a professional counseling service next month, aiming to provide a service package to 1 million people within his term that ends in 2027.

Health authorities will conduct mental health checkups for adolescents every two years, instead of the current 10 years, beginning next year, and increase suicide prevention call center staff and facilities.

For better treatment, the government plans to increase emergency intervention staff by over 50 percent and triple the number of regional emergency mental health care centers to over 30.

Yoon emphasized the need for a comprehensive package for rehabilitation, employment and welfare to help those suffering from mental illness fully recover.

To achieve the goal, he said the government will establish regional rehabilitation centers, develop an employment model customized for patients with mental illness and offer over 50 housing units every year for patients beginning next year.