Seoul, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) — President Yoon Seok-yeol on Tuesday vowed not to leave individuals’ mental health problems alone and emphasized investing state resources to tackle the problem.
Yoon said the above during a meeting on mental health policies at the former presidential compound 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 organized to address the country’s serious mental health problems, reflected in its high suicide rate, one of the highest among OECD member countries, and the lowest happiness rate.
“I think it’s time for the government to work on people’s mental health,” Yoon said. He added: “We should not leave individuals alone to look after their mental health problems, but make it an important part of the government’s agenda and actively seek solutions.”
Yoon specifically noted the importance of mental health to the country’s future development, noted the low birth rate, and promised to reshape the state’s support system to improve services at every stage, from prevention and treatment to recovery.
The president also launched plans to improve access to professional psychological counseling services, including providing counseling services to 80,000 people next year and 1 million people by the end of his term in 2027.
Yoon promised to double the number of hospital beds designated for emergency psychiatric patients and improve rehabilitation, employment and social care services.
To aid these efforts, Yoon said he would create a new presidential commission to develop relevant policies, oversee investments and conduct a broad campaign against mental health issues.
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