SEOUL, March 20 (Korea Bizwire) — A growing number of South Koreans are becoming depressed as they suffer from the effects of the so-called ‘corona blues,’ a depressive phenomenon caused by a lack of outdoor activities due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The ‘corona blues’ refers to a depressive symptom for staying indoors for too long.
At home, people are looking for new ways to comfort themselves or kill time.
Knowledge iN, an online Q&A platform run by South Korea’s top internet portal operator Naver Corp., reported that in February, the number of posts increased by 87.6 percent over the month of January.
Requests on psychological consultations, in particular, jumped by 4.7 times.
Millie’s Library, a subscription-based e-book service provider, reported a 58 percent increase in the number of active daily users as of March 9, compared to February 23 when the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its infectious-disease alert to red.
As more people are staying indoors due to the coronavirus, businesses are coming up with new products to overcome the corona blues.
SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s leading mobile carrier, introduced a meditation program for depressed people. Using SKT’s artificial intelligence speaker NUGU, anyone can download 41 kinds of meditation content for free.
Local over-the-top (OTT) service provider Watcha Inc. is giving out vouchers to infected patients and people under self-quarantine to enjoy its services for free.
Experts argue that these services will help people overcome depression.
“The prolonged coronavirus outbreak is causing depressive symptoms based on the anxiety towards the pandemic, a lack of energy caused by limited activity, and the psychological tendency to have negative thoughts,” said Seo Hwa-yeon, head of the Mental Health Welfare Center in Seoul’s Jongro District.
Engaging in psychological consultation through related programs is critical, Seo added.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)