Kpop Giants Take on the Huge Topic of Mental Health


A poster promoting the BTS Love Yourself tour.

Jayden Devereese, Music Fanatic

In the western music industry you always see artists writing about struggles, the bad things they’ve done or what they’re going through mentally. But in South Korea’s industry, you’re expected to be perfect, you can’t have issues. Many Idols hide the fact that they even have depression. Some, if not many, have come clean and told fans that they suffer from depression, it’s not all that uncommon.

South Korea’s music industry is a tight business to get into, and when you do get into it, you might not always be the happiest. Some idols even develop social issues due to the lack of social interaction in the trainee stage. There have also been cases where some idols have been suicidal and have gone through with it in some cases. 

Jonghyun Kim, a past member of the group SHINee, committed suicide in 2017 at the age of 27. Some odd days before, he had been posting some concerning things on social media, finally left one last message and committed in his apartment in Seoul. Fans, family and other members were devastated but had known he was struggling with depression and other mental problems. 

In recent days to help prevent mental health issues, groups and solo artists have made songs and campaigns to promote mental health. Even though the COVID pandemic is not affecting South Korea the same way it is affecting America, many people have had to isolate still, and that’s never good for anyone’s mental health. Suicide has historically been more common in Asia than in other places, so taking on the these topics does indeed have a global importance.

The group BTS launched a campaign called “Love Yourself”. They created a series of 3 albums that fans see as, “the happy side of life, the dark side of life, and The Answer.” The albums called “Her”, “Tear” and “Answer” broke charts in Korea and taught a lot of fans to love themselves. It has helped many. Later they launched another tour called “Speak Yourself,” it was initially to help people be able to use their voices and show people not to be afraid to show their true colors.