A study released Thursday by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology showed that nearly 1 in 6 elementary, middle and high school students in the country have some form of mental disorder.
According to the study conducted last year evaluating more than 6.4 million school pupils’ mental health, more than 1 million (16.3 percent) of the respondents received higher-than-standard scores and were classified as part of a “needing attention” group, while 223,000 (4.5 percent) were diagnosed to a “needing special care” group.
The “needing attention” group refers to those who require additional mental checkups and counseling, and those in the “special care” group require thorough examination and intensive care, the ministry said.
By age, middle school students accounted for nearly one-fifth of the “needing attention” group at 18.3 percent, followed by elementary students at 16.6 percent and high school students at 13.8 percent.
Slightly more male students than female were recommended for further mental care, with 16.8 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively.
The ministry first conducted mental evaluations of students in a pilot project in 2007, but expanded it to nationwide last year as part of its effort to combat school bullying and a high suicide rate among students.
The ministry said nearly 97 percent of 6,682,320 students participated in the mental health evaluations, up nearly 20 percent from a year ago, indicating the growing interest in mental care.
Students who are recommended for further care received treatment at specialized institutions and hospitals, and will receive regular counseling, according to the ministry.
The ministry said it will also allocate qualified medical staff at selected schools this year to help those students with high risks of mental problems.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com