Healthy life of senior citizen is emerging as the one of the significant social issues in this aging society. Seoul YWCA's Policy Monitors found out the way senior citizens could approach to programs to improve their mental health.
Improvement of Depression Questionnaire Needed
Seoul YWCA's Policy Monitors(SYPM) sought advice on depression questionnaires collected from a few organizations in charge of medical check-up of citizens. National Health Insurance Cooperation asks only 3 questions about mental health of examinee over 66. Can we find an effectiveness of diagnosis with this questionnaire? 3rd-level hospital provides in-depth check-up about sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, however, the expense is too high for the vulnerable. Seoul Mental Health Improvement Center opens on-line check-up system so that anybody can access, but the elderly could not use its system easily. Suwon Mental Health Center for Senior Citizen offers subdivided questionnaires including senior citizen's recognition improvement program and depression improvement program. Its diagnostic rate is over 80% but it is only open for Suwon citizens.
Awareness on Metal Health Still Low
SYPM surveyed 200 women over 40 to find out their awareness on mental health. About the question 'Do you fell depression?', 36% of them answered 'I feel weakness and am depressed frequently', 32% said 'I don't like hanging out with people', 20% responded 'I cannot sleep because of anxieties', and 12% said 'I often feel like crying'. Despite of those results, 54% of them answered 'I don't need any help for those problems'. And 50% of them are thinking negatively about the mental health improvement program of their communities. As a result, change in their awareness on mental health is significantly needed.
Integrated Management System Required
First, National Health Insurance Cooperation has to reform their questionnaires on mental health. The number of questionnaires should be increased from 3 to 15. Senior citizen over 65 has to be able to get the mental check-up also. Second, there should be therapy and various program after the check-up linked with public health centers. Third, we have to improve our awareness on mental health. How about using 'Mental Stability Check-up' instead of 'Depression Check-up'? Mental Health Cafe can be run to provide helpful information. Finally, we suggest integrated management system to foster consultants for senior citizen's mental health.
SYPM submitted its results and suggetions to Seoul Metropolitan City's Department for Mental Health Improvement and will hand in to National Health Insurance Cooperation, too. For good policy enabling women's happy life, SYPM will keep doing policy monitoring.