Credit: Public domain.
According to a study released on January 18 by Seoul’s city government, as many as 129k Seoul residents in their 20s and 30s - or 5 percent of Seoul’s young adult demographic - are isolated 고립 or shut-in 은둔, respectively defined as spending six months or more in mental or physical isolation, and rarely leaving the house for six months or more. Seoul conducted the study from May to December 2022.
Difficulty finding a job or loss of job was the leading cause (45.5 percent) of young people becoming isolated or shut-in. This demographic tends to self-identify as low income (64.7 percent) and in poor health (43.2 percent) relative to the Seoul residents in their 20s and 30s generally (of whom 31.4 percent self-identify as low income and 14.2% as in poor health.) Among the isolated or shut-in young people, 57.6 percent said they were suffering from severe depression.
Seoul city government’s survey is the first of its kind in South Korea, conducted in order to design a social services program tailored to assist in job searching and mental health counseling.