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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 50-58

Mental health services and research and development in South Korea

1 Department of Psychiatry, Jeonbuk National University Medical School; Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Jeonbuk National University-Biomedical Research Institute of Jeonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, Republic of Korea
2 National Center for Mental Health, Mental Health Research Institute, Seoul, Republic of Korea
3 Department of Psychiatry, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Correspondence Address:
M.D., Ph.D. Young- Chul Chung
Keumam Dong 634-18, Jeonju 561-712
Republic of Korea
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/TPSY.TPSY_22_21

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Background: South Korea or the Republic of Korea has an area of 100,412.6 km2, and population of 52 million (51,781,000). Methods: Besides our lifetime experiences in receiving training, teaching, and practicing psychiatry, the authors collected information from the literature pertinent to the mental health care in South Korea. This review is intended to familiarize the readers of the Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry with the information of mental health-care service as well as research and development (R and D) in South Korea. Results: Despite consistent improvement in the overall health status in Korea, the mental health status of the population is low compared with other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For example, Korea has the highest suicide-related mortality and more years of life lost due to mental/behavioral diseases, compared to those of the average and a longer-than-average duration of hospital stay, respectively, of the OECD. Conversely, the government has made efforts to overhaul the mental health system. Several remarkable changes have been made in the areas of community-based service, involuntary admission, and unequal treatment. Conclusion: The mental health status is closely associated with the mental health service system, prevalence of mental disorders, health insurance system, admission system, and R and D budget for mental health. To change attitudes related to mental health, strong leadership among mental health professionals is urgently needed.

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