Monday, June 22, 2009

Korean Mental Illness Treatment: So Bad it's Tantamount to Persecution? Refugee Says Yes

Hat tip to BiJnD

Holy crap. This is one of the stories so embarrassing that Korean Tourism should suspend operations and send all its people over to work in Korean mental health programs to improve them, before they continue promoting Korea in conventional ways.

Canada just awarded refugee status to a paranoid-schizophrenic Korean woman, not because her church was out to get her, as her original complaint went, but because Korean mental health care is so poor that it amounts to persecution.

Yep. You read that right. Korean health care is so poor that Canada awarded refugee status to a Korean woman. Vancouver Sun reports.

from the article:

South Koreans with mental illness are treated as an extreme underclass, with one hospital room sleeping 100 women with just 15 mats and no room for personal belongings, according to a letter submitted to the board and written by Daniel Fisher, executive director the National Empowerment Center in Lawrence, Mass.

However, before we get too high on Canada as the greatest country in the some of the comments below the article. Sure, it's no Korea Times comment board, and some of the people might be right about Canada's ability to care for its own mental illness patients, but it's still pretty bad.


pothead said...

I have always been amazed at how easy it is for someone to commit their own family member to a mental institute in this country, often for unscrupulous reasons. you still hear horror stories about a greedy person sending their own family member to an institute to steal their assets. crazy.

Todd T said...

As a Canadian, I disagree with the ruling 100%. It's a terrible precedent. Korea should clean up its own act, not us. On the other hand, the comments you point to on the board are absolutely to be expected. 1) People are pissed. 2) It's an anonymous comment system. Of course they'll write nasty stuff like that.

Roboseyo said...

I'm also a canadian, and considering how long my sister-in-law has had to wait for needed medical care, despite living in Canada, paying taxes, etc., it's odd to me as well that Canada would set this kind of precedent... but if you approach it as a pretty bloody harsh repudiation of Korea's mental health care infrastructure, it's a pretty shocking story for the home crowd where I live in Korea.

Muckefuck said...

Rob "Pretty bad?" Are you serious?

Ever had someone needing emergency mental health care? Compare apples to apples, not your sister's non mental health problems to some of Canada's other health care problems.
The truth is, that in Toronto, a patient gets treated in a single or double private room for a minimum of 10 days. That is the minumum. During that time trained psychatrists and therapists give private consultations
with voluntary drug therapy.
It is impossible to send one's loved one to an institution in Canada. Impossible.
Doctors can order commitment only if they believe a patient is imminently suicidal.
In short--how about doing some research there Rob before making such statements?
Also, how many Canadian celebrities you seen kill themselves lately? Pretty bad? Imperfect, yes--but give me a break.

This Is Me Posting said...

The only thing I'm ashamed of is my countrymen's reactions on that board. In my opinion, they're everything I don't consider to be Canadian.

Yes, our system is imperfect. Yes, we're having problems with our health care and yes, it is difficult to even care for our own.

But this woman needed help and her human rights were abused. There's nothing more Canadian than helping those in need. Its a shame my countrymen have forgotten that.

So I pay a couple of extra dollars in taxes? At least these taxes are going toward helping people. I won't complain. And those that do are more than welcome to start studying medicine and practicing in our country to help the wait times problem. Otherwise, they're just freeloaders.

Furthermore, I guarantee 100% of those commenter are Conservatives, the same people who funded Canada's MUCH NEEDED missile defence system instead of the not needed at all universal health care.

Roboseyo said...

I was referring to the "fire everyone at immigration canada immediately" commenter responses, Samuel, not to the state of mental health care in Canada, with that "pretty bad". I wouldn't know enough about the state of mental health care in Canada to post an evaluation, but thanks for the info. I, for one, would certainly rather be a suicide threat paranoid schizophrenic in Canada than a suicide threat paranoid schizophrenic in Korea. Heck, I'd rather be clinically depressed in Canada than clinically depressed in Korea, too. Fortunately I'm none of those.

I don't usually like posting "ha! Look! My country is better than Korea!" posts, but the fact remains, this is a pretty harsh commentary on Korea's mental-healthcare infrastructure, and that's the lens I was looking through when I posted this. I've lived in Korea so long now that I've started telling people "I couldn't really tell you" when they ask how things are in Canada.

dokebi said...

yea that's probably right. koreans are not good with accommodating people who are different (including foreigners)