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MOHW launches project to connect mental health risk patients at primary medical providers with appropriate mental health services

  • Date : 2022-03-31
  • Hit : 481

MOHW launches project to connect mental health risk patients at primary medical providers with appropriate mental health services
정신건강 위험군 동네 의원을 통해 정신건강 서비스 연계 받는다

Mar 28, 2022

On March 28, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (Minister Kwon Deok-cheol) announced the launch of Community Clinic-Psychiatric Institution Treatment Affiliation Pilot Project, which is to screen patients at non-psychiatric primary hospitals or clinics with risk of depression or suicide and connect them to healthcare institutions capable of treatment and case management.

Due to prolonged COVID-19, overall mental health indicators are deteriorating. Percentages in suicidal ideation increased by 40% over the past two years, and one in five people appeared as a depression risk group.

However, due to social prejudice and stigma against mental illness, the mental health service utilization rate is only 7.2% in year of 2020, which is only 1/5 of that of other countries.

Analysis of health insurance sample cohort DB ('07~’15) show that people who are about to commit suicide tend to visit non-psychiatric primary medical institutions for various physical and mental problems.

The pilot project will link the risk group discovered by non-psychiatric clinics to institutions that can provide appropriate treatment or case management for the patient, such as psychiatry, mental health and welfare center, or suicide prevention center. This pilot project will take place in Busan for two years from March.

First, community clinics are to screen patients who are likely to have depression or suicidal risk during consultations or discover patients to link to the program using a depression screening tool (PHQ-9).

Discovered patients are advised to visit mental medical clinics, when they want case management, they will be sent to the local mental health and welfare center and will be actively encouraged to visit the associated institution.

In this project, screening counseling fees for early detection of mental health risk group (counseling fees, screening evaluation tool fees) and treatment linkage management fees for risk groups for a timely request will be calculated separately.

Particularly, by exempting co-payments during the pilot project period, the government tries to connect patients to appropriate treatment at no cost to patients. To increase the effectiveness of the project, when associated patients visit the mental medical clinics or mental health welfare centers for treatment or case management, it is planned to provide fees for the successful association.

Busan was selected for this project after the public invitation for application (’21.11.23-’21.12.22), in consideration of the mental health status of the region, such as mental health service infrastructure and suicide rate.

Starting with 57 primary medical institutions in Busan, it plans to gradually expand participating medical institutions.

Jung Eun-young, director general of mental health policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, “This project is intended to find and help people who are at risk of depression or suicide to be brought into the mental health support system that can provide appropriate treatment and counseling in a timely manner.”

In addition, she said, "We look forward to strengthening the role of primary medical institutions to preemptively discover and treat hidden mental health risk groups with mental medical clinics in the community, and improve public awareness of mental health services which will increase accessibility to the mental medical institutions.“

// For inquiries, contact Media Relations, Ministry of Health and Welfare
044-202-2047 fairytale@korea.kr


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