J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2021 Feb;60(1):23-27. 10.4306/jknpa.2021.60.1.23.

State and Improvement Policy of Psychiatric Emergency during COVID-19 Pandemic

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul, Korea


Under the the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to achieve two goals, protecting inpatients from infection and providing appropriate psychiatric treatment for psychiatric emergency patients, including those at an acute psychiatric stage. This paper proposes improvement measures by understanding the status and problems of the psychiatric emergency of South Korea. The confirmed definition of psychiatric emergency from the perspective of the current policy of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, legal regulations, and medical practice was used. The status of psychiatric emergencies from related statistical data was estimated, and the related problems were summarized. First, a data system for the current state of psychiatric emergencies in South Korea is needed. Second, specialized medical resources are needed considering the severity of psychiatric symptoms and COVID-19 infection. Lastly, efforts are needed to secure insufficient medical resources and expand the psychiatric emergency system. South Korea requires the establishment of a psychiatric emergency service system at the national level to overcome the pandemic situation in 2020 and fix pre-existing problems before the COVID-19 pandemic.


Psychiatric emergency services; COVID-19; Pandemic
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