SEOUL, April 13 (Korea Bizwire) – A recent report highlighting the deterioration of mental health among South Korean youth has been published at a time when the country mired in a period of high youth unemployment, which is forcing many young South Koreans to give up on marriage, having a child or buying a house.
An increasing number of men aged 18 to 29 are reported to be suffering from depression compared to five years ago, according to a 2016 report published by the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs (MOHW).
The findings about the mental health status of young South Korean men come as a surprise while the number of depression sufferers decreased among women and older men over the same period.
While the number of young men with depression increased from 2.4 percent in 2011 to 3.1 percent in 2016, women saw a drop to 1.9 percent from 4.2 percent over the same period.
“The increase of depression among South Korean men in their 20s is the result of a combination of pressure to get a job, stress and anxiety,” said Samsung Medical Centre professor Hong Jin-pyo, who supervised the report.
“From our research, we found that while the overall suicide rate is dropping, the rate among those in their 20s and 30s bucked the downward trend, which we believe is reflective of the findings of some of the recent studies that highlight low life satisfaction among younger generations,” Hong added.
Symptoms of depression include feeling down on a daily basis for longer than two weeks, fatigue, or thinking about committing suicide to the point where everyday life is severely affected the thought.
The report also found that among women, heavy reliance on alcohol, which negatively affects daily life, is growing.
While the number of men who have experienced alcoholism in the last year decreased, the rate for young South Korean women during the same time increased from 5.7 percent in 2011 to 6.9 percent in 2016.
Those who felt symptoms of nicotine withdrawal were most prevalent among women in their 20s compared to their older counterparts.
“Through this research, we found mental health problems are growing among young South Koreans. We need measures to be taken to prevent alcoholism and reduce smoking,” Professor Hong said.
More than 5,102 individuals of over 18 years of age participated in the survey.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)