North Korean Refugees in South Korea
We are very fortunate to be living in this country where basic human necessities can be easily obtained such as food, shelter, clothing, and clean water. These necessities are luxury for people in North Korea and especially to North Korean refugees. China have extradition with North Korea and they are great economic partners, majority of North Korean who escape to china can be deported back to North Korea if they are caught. They have to travel great distance to get themselves to South Korea. Even if they were able to overcome many obstacles they still face socioeconomic problems in South Korea. To further comprehend this Predicament an academic article, “Relationships between Acculturative Stress, Depression, and Quality of Life on in North Korean Refugees Living in South Korea” tackle the issues of North Korean Refugee struggles in South Korea. This academic article addresses the psychological challenges that North Korean refugee are facing in South Korea as well as interrelation of depression, acculturative stress and quality of life. Although, it may appear that North Korean Refugee has finally become free when they have safely arrived and get approve for an asylum status, however there are underlying issues that they face in their new surroundings. They are not truly free because they are facing a modern from of poverty, financial stability, which is similar to the poverty that they have faced before in North Korea, and social prejudice toward North Korean Refugee. Furthermore, they have concern and worry to other family member that they left in North Korea because the North Korean government can send them to imprisonment or worse by enslaving them to slave camps. Acculturative create unfathomable pressure toward North Korean refugees in their journey to sociocultural adaptation. Additionally, the article explains that many North Korean Refugee suffers from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) from harsh living conditions in North Korea and claims that they are at risk for mental health problem. Their Quality of Life (QOL) is associated with their health status, and the Article create studies on Acculturative Stress, Depression and Quality of Life by studying 232 North Korean Refugee in South Korea and used a snowball sampling method to protect the identity of North Korean Refugee. After the research was conducted the result of Acculturative stress is moderate with mild Depression, and low score for overall Quality of Life. In order to resolve the issue of Quality of Life we must tackle the issues of depression and acculturative disorder.
“The medical providers here treat me very kindly. […] I feel like I’m an executive. This is a real life I never enjoyed before [i.e., in North Korea]”.
-Dongmin, a male defector
“In South Korea, the providers have high levels of responsibility. […] All the providers I’ve seen have given me great service.”
-Seonhee, a female defector
“Leaving North Korea is not like leaving any other country. It is more like leaving another universe. I will never truly be free of its gravity, no matter how far I journey.”
Unmet Expectations of South Korea Healthcare System by North Korean Refugees
The number of North Korean refugees entering to South Korea is climbing significantly since the late 1990s. Although the two country shared same language and ethnicity, their belief and culture development are unique. It's difficult for North Korean refugees to adapt in a new environment, South Korea's society, and to be familiar with the Health Care system that South Korea provide. In order to learn and improve the North Korean refugees health, the providers must study the refugees expectation based on their background. There were 17 North Korean refugees and 12 medical providers through Korean National Medical Center to examine the needs. This study helps North Korean refugees adapt to the South Korean society and their health care system. Although they appreciate that they were treated almost the same as ordinary citizens benefiting from the medical system, they aren't really pleased with the service because "they would rather use the human techniques than technology, and they expected their doctors to be omnipotent and they expect to receive emergency medical service for free". It's difficult for medical providers to deal with the expectation that North Korean refugees have such as "receiving medical services based on self-diagnosis and/or non-medical personal needs, have the doctor listen to their stories and to receive medical service without an appointment". In order to solve the problem regarding the unmet expectations of South Korea healthcare system by North Korean refugees, the providers specific the patient education programs which reflect the refugees experiences. They also provide with the culture based prevention programs which can be implemented at the national and community levels.