More than one in 10 students at Korea's top technology institute is suffering from depression, according to a lawmaker.
Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Tae-won of the National Assembly's Education, Science and Technology Committee reviewed the results of a mental health assessment of 6,173 students enrolled at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology -- representing 66 percent of the total student body.
The lawmaker found that 14.3 percent or 884 of the students have symptoms of depression-related disorders.
Among them, 620 are experiencing minor forms of depression, while 212 are at higher risk. Some 52 students were found to be suffering from major depression, which requires urgent professional help.
When a series of suicides at the school due to students' failing to cope with academic pressure rocked the nation last year, KAIST carried out the mental health assessment on its entire student body from July to December. The school found that of the four students who committed suicide, three had been treated for depression.
"Students at KAIST are experiencing depression due to the intense academic pressure and consequent stress, leading some to take their own lives," Kim said. "We urgently need to come up with programs to help them so that they don't feel like they have no other way to escape the stress."