S. Koreans Suffering from Anxiety and Depression as COVID-19 Drags On | Be Korea-savvy

S. Koreans Suffering from Anxiety and Depression as COVID-19 Drags On

People cross a street junction in Seoul on March 24, 2020. (Yonhap)

People cross a street junction in Seoul on March 24, 2020. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 20 (Korea Bizwire)A recent survey has found that about half of Koreans are experiencing anxiety or depression due to the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak.

According to a survey of 1,500 people aged 15 or older conducted by the Gyeonggi Research Institute, 45.7 percent said they were somewhat anxious or depressed since the novel coronavirus outbreak, and 1.8 percent said they were experiencing severe anxiety or depression.

When analyzing the results by age group, anxiety and depression increased among older respondents.

Some 40 percent for those in their teens, 44.5 percent of those in their 20s, 46.5 percent of those in their 30s, 48.2 percent of those in their 40s, and 52.2 percent of those in their 50s said they were suffering.

By occupation, homemakers reported the highest level of anxiety at 59.9 percent, followed by the self-employed, accounting for 54.3 percent; contract workers, accounting for 53.4 percent; middle and high school students, accounting for 46.8 percent; and the unemployed, accounting for 46.7 percent.

The ratio of anxiety and depression by city was highest in Daegu, once considered the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, at 65.3 percent, about 20 percent higher than the national average.

Of the total respondents, 20.2 percent had experienced sleep disorders since the outbreak, but sleep difficulties were much larger in Daegu at 30.6 percent.

The stress caused by COVID-19 reached a level of 3.7 points based on the scale of 5 points, 1.5 times higher than the 2015 outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), 1.3 times higher than severe diseases, and 1.1 times higher than the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking, one of the country’s worst maritime disasters, which killed more than 300.

Meanwhile, 67.3 percent of those surveyed said they felt sympathy for the confirmed patients, while 16.2 percent felt anger and resentment, and 16.5 percent said they had no feelings.

At 49.6 percent, about half of the respondents said psychological and mental support services are needed to alleviate psychological pain caused by COVID-19.

“As the new term ‘corona blues’ has appeared, which is as severe as socioeconomic losses, we need to prepare for the spread of national trauma, or mentaldemic,” said Lee Eun-hwan, a researcher at the Gyeonggi Research Institute.

In particular, about half of women in their 20s to 40s who work while raising children are under severe stress in the aftermath of COVID-19.

According to an online stress self-diagnosis of 308 working parents conducted by Seoul Working Mom Support Center, 37.3 percent showed a high risk of stress and 54 percent showed “stress potential.”

By gender, 45 percent, or 112 out of 247 female respondents, were in high-risk groups. Among the 196 women in their 20s to 40s, 52 percent were in the high-risk group, and 42 percent were in the stress potential group.

D. M. Park (dmpark@koreabizwire.com)

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