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No. of depression patients exceeds 1m in 2022

Oct. 3, 2023 - 13:31 By Lee Jung-youn

The number of patients with depression in Korea has increased by more than 30 percent over the past five years, exceeding the milestone of 1 million for 2022, data showed Tuesday.

According to data that Rep. Nam In-soon of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea and the Health and Welfare Committee received from the National Health Insurance Service, the number of patients treated for depression has increased every year since 2018. From 752,976 in 2018, there were 799,011 in 2019, 832,378 in 2020 and 915,298 in 2021. In 2022, the number exceeded 1 million for the first time, recording 1,000,744 -- an increase of 32.9 percent from 2018.

In terms of gender, the number of women treated for depression in 2022 was 674,555, more than double the number of male patients, which was 326,189.

By age in 2022, the largest number of patients were in their 20s at 185,942 (18.6 percent), followed by 160,108 patients in their 30s, 143,090 in their 60s, 142,086 in their 40s, 126,453 in their 50s and 181,904 over 70.

Considering both gender and age, the group most vulnerable to depression was women in their 20s, with 121,534 patients in 2022, or 12.1 percent of the total. This group also saw the steepest increase in depression patients in five years, showing a 110.65 percent increase compared to 2018.

Rep. Nam urged that improving awareness about depression should be accelerated, stressing that early treatment is crucial.