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Retail giants offer counseling services amid pandemic

(Lotte Shopping)
(Lotte Shopping)
Major retail businesses are offering free counseling services in response to a mental health crisis that has emerged in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Online retailer Gmarket announced plans on Wednesday to offer free psychological counseling for front-line medical staff who have helped fight the COVID-19 crisis.

A total of 30 applicants will be chosen to get help from nongovernmental health care organizations, as part of the retailer’s crowdfunding project “Touch,” with applications open until Oct. 6.

The initiative is intended to provide support for health care workers who are “under immense psychological stress,” the company explained.

Lotte Department Store will also open a counseling center at its Centum City branch on Friday as part of its “Rejoice” corporate social responsibility campaign.

For 30,000 to 100,000 won ($25-$86), shoppers can book online or offline sessions with a professional mental health counselor, the department store said Wednesday.

Data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare revealed that the number of people suffering from depression surpassed 500,000 as of April this year.

The data also showed that depression was on the rise, especially among those in their 20s, for whom the figure has more than doubled since 2016.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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