What is the prevalence of depression among Koreans?
White Hispanic Chica
Dear White Hispanic Chica,
THANK YOU for asking a question that takes less than 10 minutes to find an answer for. It has been so long.
According to this article at Herald Business News, in 2007 Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service (a quasi-governmental body, because Korea is miles ahead of the U.S. in providing nationalized health insurance) estimated that 2.5 percent of all Koreans (roughly around 1.2 million people) suffered from depression, and only around half of them received treatment. However, psychiatrists of Korea estimate that 10 percent of all Koreans have "depression at the level where treatment is necessary."
While the estimate sounds a little high, it is not totally unreasonable. Because many Koreans still maintain the attitude that depression is not a real illness, it is likely that depression is not fully diagnosed in Korea. Also, especially with Korean males, depression may manifest itself as alcoholism, evading diagnosis.
Recently there have been campaigns to raise awareness for depression, terming it "the cold of the mind." Such campaigns are slowly turning the public perception in Korea around, but there is still a long way to go.
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