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Seoul to run mental health support program for COVID-19 response personnel

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : September 15, 2021, 10:49 Updated : June 23, 2023, 01:57

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SEOUL -- Due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, Seoul City will operate a mental health support program for medical staff who are likely to be suffering from "Corona Blue," a sign of depression triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been 20 months since the pandemic hit South Korea.

According to a survey of medical staff in Seoul conducted by the city government, 73.6 percent of workers who treat COVID-19 patients suffered from emotional exhaustion due to work. 75.4 percent experienced cynicism personality disorders and 22.1 percent showed stress symptoms that needed immediate support. Data released by Seoul National University's Graduate School of Public Health and the Gyeonggi Public Health Policy Institute in August 2020 showed that 69.7 percent of workers experienced work-related stress.

Seoul said in a statement on September 15 that mental health specialists will visit 25 districts to offer psychological comfort. The care service will provide various programs including massage, nail art, meditation and counseling. Break times for coronavirus response personnel will also be offered.

"We will continue to do our best to improve the work environment by providing psychological support services," Park Yoo-mi, Seoul's Public Health Bureau, was quoted as saying. "There are about 200 health care workers per state-run local health care center across the city and about 5,000 workers in Seoul," Jeon Young-hee, Seoul's health care policy assistant director, told Aju Business Daily. 

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