How South Korean companies are beating the ‘corona blues’

Many South Koreans are becoming depressed as they suffer from the ‘corona blues,’ a phenomenon caused by a lack of outdoor activities due to the coronavirus.

But as people stuck indoors are looking for new ways to comfort themselves or kill time, South Korean businesses are starting to respond.

Knowledge iN, an online Q&A platform run by South Korea’s top internet portal operator Naver Corp, (which owns Line), reported that in February, the number of posts increased by 87.6 per cent over the month of January.

Requests relating to psychological consultations, in particular, jumped by 4.7 times.

Millie’s Library, a subscription-based e-book service provider, reported a 58-per-cent increase in the number of active daily users as of March 9, compared to February 23 when the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its infectious-disease alert to red.

As more people are staying indoors due to the coronavirus, businesses are coming up with new products to overcome the corona blues.

SK Telecom, South Korea’s leading mobile carrier, introduced a meditation program for depressed people. Using SKT’s artificial intelligence speaker NUGU, anyone can download 41 kinds of meditation content for free.

Local over-the-top (OTT) service provider Watcha is giving out vouchers to infected patients and people under self-quarantine to enjoy its services for free.

Experts argue that these services will help people manage depression.

“The prolonged coronavirus outbreak is causing depressive symptoms based on the anxiety towards the pandemic, a lack of energy caused by limited activity, and the psychological tendency to have negative thoughts,” said Seo Hwa-yeon, head of the Mental Health Welfare Center in Seoul’s Jongro District.

Engaging in psychological consultation through related programs is critical, Seo added.


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