“At first, I blamed COVID-19, but now it feels like everything is my fault,” a 30-year-old said. Mr. Kim quit a job a year ago as his company struggled since the outbreak of COVID-19. Finding a new job wasn’t as easy as he thought. He recently gave up on job searching and does not leave the house unless there are special occasions. “It’s hard to fall asleep because I blame myself for everything,” he said. “I feel depressed all the time.”
During the last two years under the pandemic, young people’s mental health took a bad turn. According to The Dong-A Ilbo’s research on Thursday, the number of counseling sessions provided to young people aged between 19 and 38 by 25 mental health well-being centers run by local governments in Seoul was 100,138 last year, which is 2.5 times higher than in 2019 before COVID-19 outbreak.
This is the first time that the number of such counseling sessions has exceeded 100,000 per year. Many young people who sought help talked about the difficulties with finding jobs due to COVID-19, the lack of social interactions due to social distancing, and the feeling of depression from online classes.
Experts say that the depression of young people who will lead the future of the country should not be left out. “If the mental health of young people breaks down, it will be a threat to the overall society and country,” said Professor Kwon Jun-soo of the mental health department of Seoul National University. “National measures need to be put forward.”
Seng-Hyun Kang email@example.com