9:12 am - 12/04/2018

Korea to spend 8 trillion won on mental illness treatment by 2020

The cost of treating mental illness here is expected to exceed 8 trillion won ($7.1 billion) by 2020, more than that for gastrointestinal problems, the most common form of illness among Koreans, according to "Koreans' mental disease burden," a report by a research team from Korea University.

The report stated that the cost for mental illness and behavioral disorders, and the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) of these, will keep growing, increasing by 22 percent for men and 35 percent for women by 2030.

DALY is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to bad health, disability or early death.

The DALY of mental illness and behavioral disorders is already high, ranking seventh among the nation's 21 disease categories, followed by musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, urinogenital problems, blood and endocrine diseases, other non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases.

In 23 subdivisions of mental illness, depressive disorders topped the list followed by schizophrenia, phobias, and bipolar and panic disorders.

The report showed the younger generation is more vulnerable to mental illnesses than older ones.

Schizophrenia and phobias were most common in the 20s to 30s age group, but started to decrease in older generations. On the other hand, depression and phobias increased as people aged. Women were more vulnerable to depressive disorders.

"The high rate of mental illnesses among the younger generation could mean a decrease in the nation's productivity and an increase in socioeconomic costs," the report stated.

For alcohol use disorders, men's DALY had increased by 2 percent from 2007 and women's, 36 percent.

An average of 13 people died a day from alcohol-related causes in 2017, a total of 4,809, according to Statistics Korea.
The death rate was the highest among those in their 50s, with 22.8 people out of every 100,000.

A recent report by the National Health Insurance Service states that over 9.45 trillion won ($8.3 billion) in social costs were spent due to drinking-related problems, more than smoking which caused spending of 7.12 trillion won, and obesity, 6.76 trillion won.

source: koreatimes
sciencebottle 4th-Dec-2018 04:58 pm (UTC)
(puts public health major hat on) This is super important. The disease burden and disability weightings for mental illness are so damn high, and mental illness presents with so many other causes of disability and injury. Its so complexly interwoven into the social determinants surrounding individuals in a population, so I'm glad that steps are being taken to fund mental health initiatives seriously (seeing as how you could knock down the disease burden of so many other conditions at the same time).

That being said, the allocation of the money needs to be done right. As far as I know, the majority of SK's health budget still goes towards hospitals and institutionalization of patients, which only adds to the problem and creates and even heavier burden on finances and staff. The money needs to go to community health initiatives and forming support networks to reduce emergency room visits and psychiatric beds.
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