S Korea offers lonely young people $500 per month to re-enter society

People wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) take a walk on a cold winter day at a Han river park in Seoul, South Korea, January 13, 2022. — Reuters

The South Korean government has offered to pay about $500 to lonely young people who are secluded from the world to help them “re-enter society”, CNN reported. 

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced a new measure aiming to support isolated youth’s “psychological and emotional stability and healthy growth” by providing them up to 650,000 Korean won (about $500) per month. 

According to the ministry’s report, 3.1% — which makes up about 338,000 — of Koreans aged 19 to 39 are “reclusive lonely young people”. 

These people are defined as living in a “limited space, in a state of being disconnected from the outside for more than a certain period of time, and have noticeable difficulty in living a normal life”.

The report says that about 40% of people start isolating themselves at a young age citing various factors like financial issues, mental illness, family problems or health challenges.

“Reclusive youths can have slower physical growth due to irregular living and unbalanced nutrition, and are likely to face mental difficulties such as depression due to loss of social roles and delayed adaptation,” said the ministry, emphasising the importance of “active support.”

This policy is to target young people — who are cut off from society or those who don’t have a guardian or school protection — as part of the larger Youth Welfare Support Act. 

This is something not new to South Korea as some cities and local governments have similar systems. 

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