Mental health in South Korea
In the last decade, the population has been shaken by the suicides of many prominent South Korean politicians and celebrities. Economic poverty and physical disability were a few of the leading reasons to attempt suicide. These factors are, in many cases, linked to mental illness. According to a survey, about one-third of the respondents said they had a mental health disorder such as depression, work-related stress, or social anxiety. Nevertheless, very few people want to consult with a psychiatrist because of the stigma attached to mental health issues in South Korea.
Since the government introduced its first suicide prevention program in 2004, various measures have been taken to counteract the exceptionally high suicide rate. For example, Seoul City carried out the “Bridge of Life” project for the Mapo Bridge, one of the most notorious locations for people attempting suicide. The project aimed to pacify people who visit the bridge to end their lives by projecting inspirational texts and photos. The government also operates suicide prevention centers and provides services such as medical and psychological counseling for suicide survivors, as well as a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline.