[South Korea] Institute offers help for English-speaking foreigners suffering mental problems


A Korean medical institute has launched a service to help English-speaking foreigners here who are experiencing mental problems.  Chaum, under Korean medical conglomerate CHA Medical Group, made the move in light of reports that people living in other cultures who face a language barrier are more prone to mental disorders.

The institute, also known as the Power-Aging Life Center ― in Seoul’s Cheongdam area in Gangnam district ― said the psychological service is provided by “mental health professionals with superb understanding of and communicative skills with those from English cultures.” The foreigners, according to Chaum, often face difficulties in receiving proper treatment for their mental problems because of communication barriers. The difficulties are more evident in those with serious mental issues that require further treatment. They often have had to spend more time searching for the right medical institutes.

“Many of the foreigners striving to assimilate into Korean society experience distress that derives from different etiquettes and customs here,” Chaum president Yoon Sang-wook said, referring to some 240,000 English-speaking foreign nationals in Korea as of 2018. “If such a condition persists, it unbalances neurotransmitters in one’s brain and other various chemicals inside the rest of the body, causing assimilation difficulties, depression, panic disorder and alcoholic disorder.” Chaum’s Dr. Won Eun-soo said there have been arguments that those experiencing a language barrier in alien environments have a higher risk of mental disorder.  “It is best for them to receive medical help before their mental issues become worse,” Won said.


By Ko Dong-hwan

(Korea Times)

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