The South Korean government has introduced a new policy of engaging the youth to help them re-enter society. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has introduced a new initiative with the goal of promoting the emotional and psychological wellbeing of the South Korean Youth. The program will offer a monthly stipend of up to $500 to assist them leave loneliness and engage with the outer world. The measures also include access to education, job and health support.
350,000 Youth Is Lonely
According to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, approximately 3% of individuals aged 19 to 39 in South Korea, which equates to around 350,000 people, are categorized as isolated or lonely. These young individuals who tend to become solitary often come from underprivileged backgrounds, and as per a government document detailing the measures, 40% of them have started living alone when they were very young.
The condition, hikikomori, that was thought to be unique to Japanese society has hit South Korean society too. The condition is characterized by extreme loneliness in which individuals tend not to leave their homes for work or any other social engagement.