Around 30 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a sample experienced mental illness, data showed Tuesday, raising concerns over the virus outbreak’s impact on mental health.

According to National Medical Center data obtained by the office of Rep. Kang Gi-yun of the People Power Party, 24 out of 80 patients hospitalized at the institution as of the end of April were diagnosed with mental illnesses including panic disorder, depression and stress disorder.

Twenty percent, or 16 patients, were prescribed medicine for psychological disorders. The data excludes confirmed patients who were already diagnosed with mental illness or dementia prior to being hospitalized for COVID-19.

“There has been no disease other than COVID-19 that has caused nationwide concern with all information related to the disease shared in real time all over the world,” Kang said in a statement.

“The disease control authority should recognize the importance of people’s mental health and swiftly pursue ways to provide mental illness consultation, diagnosis and treatment options for high-risk groups while sharing accurate information on COVID-19 to lower the level of public concern.”

Mental illness has become more common even among those not infected since the virus outbreak started, earlier data showed.

According to the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service, 595,724 people were treated for depression in the six months that ended June 30, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier.

At the same time, the number of suicide reports received by the police increased by 1,170 to 42,291 from the same period a year earlier, according to the National Police Agency.

Source: KOREA HERALD

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