Suicide in South Korea: The Evil That Affects K-Pop

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The Hallyu Phenomenon has grown more and more thanks to the various South Korean idols such as K-pop singers, actors and actresses. Unfortunately, in this environment, suicide in South Korea has appeared interrupting the lives of young people still on the rise.

Which Korean celebrities have taken their lives? What measures are being taken to change this reality? What do mental health professionals say on this subject? Let's see it now!

Suicide in South Korea

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) South Korea has the second highest rate of world suicide. The rate is higher among elderly people, the reason being the situation of vulnerability experienced by them, many are unable to retire with dignity, so it is common, especially with those with low purchasing power.

Then come young people who also have a high mortality rate for taking their own life, especially among men. It is a matter treated seriously, but it becomes a matter of fact when it happens in the artistic environment.

WHO data from 2015 show that in the country there were 24.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. And in that same year most of the deaths were of people between 10 and 39 years old.

celebrity suicide

Many South Korean idols have drastically cut their lives short, an evil that is often masked by a smile and gorgeous stage performances. Let's look at some celebrities who lost their lives to deep grief.


Jonghyun is the stage name of Kim Jong-hyun (김종현) was born on April 8, 1990 in Seoul. He was a singer, songwriter and producer for the group SHInee under SM Entertainment. The beginning of his career was in 2008 with the band that ended up becoming one of the most successful in South Korea. Jonghyun committed suicide in December 2017 at the age of 27. Before the incident, he was already showing signs of depression in his melancholy songs and posts on social media.


Sulli was actually named Choi Jin-ri (최진리) she was from the South Korean city, Busan, Born on March 29, 1994 she started her career in 2005 as an actress. In 2009 he joined the group f(x) and stayed until 2015. But during that period she also acted in several dramas. She was found lifeless in October 2019, the death was confirmed as a suicide. People close to her stated that she had depression. Sulli was close friends with Jonghyun and Koo Hara.

Koo Hara

Koo Hara or Goo Ha0ra (구하라) was born in Gwangju on January 3, 1991. Hara was a singer and korean actress. In 2008, she began her career as part of the Kara group of DSP Media and stayed until 2016. During this period, she was part of the reality show presentation and debuted as an actress. Hara's love life was surrounded by problems, she suffered aggression and even went through threats from her ex-boyfriend to release a sex video made without her consent. After the incident, she began to be harassed on social media. That same year, in 2018, she attempted suicide but was found in time. However, in November 2019, she managed to take her own life at just 28 years old. Hara died six weeks after Sulli's death.

Oh In-hye

Oh In-hye (오인혜) was born on January 4, 1984 in the capital of South Korea. was an actress and model, began her career in 2011 in the film Sin of a Family. She made 8 movies and 3 series. In the year 2019 she created a channel on You Tube. In September 2020, she was found dead at her home at age 36.

Seo Min-woo

Seo Min-woo (서민우) was born on February 8, 1985 in the South Korean city of Daegu. He was an actor and singer, his career began in 2006. He received recognition by joining the band called 100% from the TOP Media label. In 2014, Seo Min-woo left the band because of the compulsory military service of 1 year and 8 months. In March 2018 he died.

Possible causes

The causes that lead to suicide are numerous! In an interview with Suki Desu, the clinical psychologist, Magda Custódia talks about the type of thinking of the person who already thinks about committing the act: "When a person has depression, which is the biggest cause of suicides, they usually say 'my life doesn't work'. worthless!" “What am I doing in this world?” or “nothing makes sense to me, so I'd rather die!”. So, these people are already having suicidal thoughts and often even plan how to do it.”

In the case of South Korea, their level of demand regarding the artist, exposure, sasaegs (obsessive fans) are just some of the factors that can contribute to many developing psychological problems.

In August 2021, one of the members of the group TWICE, Jeongyeon withdrew from activities due to panic and anxiety disorder. The singer has already been away from October 2020 to January 2021 for the same reason. The same happened with Mina, her groupmate who in 2019 was left behind due to anxiety and insecurity problems.

Stepping away from the spotlight to take care of yourself is important, but the person must come back at the right time. “The person himself must analyze whether he will feel good going back to work, or if he will be safe. For anxiety at a high level brings feelings of fear, insecurity and often even panic or phobias. For these people to feel good and prepared to return to their activities, it is also necessary to be in psychological and psychiatric follow-up”, says the psychologist.

In South Korea, charging starts early in terms of studies, career and appearance. When the person is famous comes more commitments and responsibilities that must still be in accordance with what is imposed by the agency and the expectations of fans. Artists are criticized all the time, people believe that because they are known they have the right to say what they want about their lives, all this affects mental health in some way.

Suicide Bridge

The Mapo Bridge, popularly known as the Suicide Bridge, crosses the Han River in the capital of South Korea, Seoul, and is 2.2 km long. The bridge is codenamed the Suicide Bridge because it is a common place for attempts to take one's own life. Around 1,090 people are believed to have jumped from this bridge between the years 2003 to 2011.

At the end of 2012 the Samsung company had a creative idea to try to reduce the suicide rate. The estimate is that after the 85% campaign deaths decreased. The solution was to transform the bridge into a bridge of life! All over the bridge, illuminated signs, photos of happy people and phrases such as:

“Visit the people you miss”

"The best moments in life are yet to come"

"Isn't it nice to walk on a bridge?"

All the phrases and photos were chosen and prepared with the help of psychologists with the aim of making the person who thinks about committing suicide distract himself to the point of arriving safely on the other side. Next to the bridge there is also a statue of a man consoling another called “Just Once Again”. The phones on the bridge can also be used to call the mental health helpline.

It is important to always be aware that this does not happen to people close to you. Showing empathy and being observant can save a life! "Depression is not laziness, it's not freshness, it's not to get attention! It's a serious illness!, concludes Magda Custodia.

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