In this blog we present you a list of South Korean K-pop Idols who have been open about their struggle with depression.
The Korean entertainment industry has a negative reputation of being extremely demanding to the point that the gruelling regimen and the tight schedules tend to impact the health and well-being of their entertainers.
With the prevailing stigma around mental health, it is no shock that open conversations around mental health conditions such as depression have only started in the past decade.
Kpop idols who have been open about depression
Many notable entertainers in the Kpop industry- actors and actresses, musicians including kpop idols have added to this conversation by disclosing their struggle with their fans and others in the industry.
Some of the notable kpop idols that has opened up about their personal struggles with depression include the following:
BTS’ Suga has been most vocal about his struggle with depression through his music. He has disclosed his struggle with anxiety and depression through multiple interviews and also in his mixtapes.
In his song “The last” he has been candid about his struggle with depression as well as suicidal thoughts since a young age. As of recent years, he has been vocal about his struggle with the stress of fame and the anxiety of it being in the spotlight.
In 2013, Suzy, a korean actress and ex- kpop idol, confessed to struggling with depression for a while in her guest appearance for a variety show “Healing camp”.
She expressed her struggle with the overwhelming positive comments and expectations that often made her feel unworthy.
She also mentioned that the expectations other people had of her versus who she truly wanted to be caused a lot of stress and despair that fueled her struggle with mental health.
G-Dragon of BIGBANG
G-Dragon of BIGBANG confessed on national TV about his struggle with depression during the 2009 scandal where he was called out for plagiarism.
He expressed how difficult it was to live in the midst of an online global smear campaign so he had reportedly shut himself out of the world and lived in complete isolation.
Many Fans were alarmed in 2017 when he posted a dark themed quote on his social media and believe that it was because the singer was depressed and struggling with his mental health.
Recently in 2021, Jeongyeon was announced to be taking her second hiatus due to “panic and psychological anxiety”.
Many speculated that this could be because of the gruelling schedules and the stress of her work that cause her to deteriorate mentally.
However , fortunately both the company and the kpop idol decided to prioritise her mental health over work and she has been announced to be on hiatus.
AOA Kwon Mina
Former AOA member Kwon Mina attempted suicide in th year 2021 as a result of having been bullied by the group’s leader Jimin according to allegations.
The lack of support from her teammates is also believed to have pushed her to take such a drastic decision. She is speculated to have suffered mentally and this utter lack of hoplessness in the face of bullying might have left her deopressed and lead her to consider suicide.
Jo Kwon (2AM)
Jo Kwon from 2AM has opened up about his struggle with severe depression during the 8 years he spent as a trainee which surprised a lot of his fans because he is always known to be someone who brought joy to others.
He has since then decided to focus on the positive aspects of his life and his future rather than focus on negative criticisms and judgements from others.
In 2008, T.O.P was reported to have suffered from anxiety attacks as well as depression due to the stress he was under since his kpop group was at the height of their career.
In 2017, he was officially diagnosed with social anxiety and requested a short leave from his mandatory military training and later during his drug scandal, he has also been speculated to have overdosed on anti-anxiety pills.
Jinwoon confessed that after 2AM’s US tour in 2010 he fell into depression where he wanted to be alone and often withdrew from his group members as well as struggled with insomnia.
He also revealed that he had a hard time with his debut as a kpop idol as well due to the stress and the criticism he received as a young entertainer. However, he has mentioned that he is doing better and that music has helped him.
Heechul (Super Junior)
After Hankyung, a member abruptly left Super Junior, Heechul, who was his closest friend, reported that he fell into deep depression, completely isolating himself and his team for months.
HyunA reported that it had taken her months to come to terms with her depression and panic disorder after her 2016 collapse and hospitalisation.
She has been brave and open about her struggle and disclosed her condition on her social media. HyunA added in a letter to her fans that she had originally wanted to keep her mental health condition a secret but she couldn’t hide it further.
Reach out for help
Depression is a serious mental health condition where a person who is affected by it experiences persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Apart from these symptoms of emotional distress,they also experience physical symptoms such as chronic pain, or changes in their behaviour such as social withdrawal, changes in diet and sleep patterns.
Depression can impact an individual ability to focus and concentrate, according to the DSM-5. These symptoms of depression make it very difficult for the individual to carry out their day to day tasks, maintain their relationships, and manage their occupational responsibilities.
If you find yourself struggling with depression and loneliness, we urge you to seek support from a professional immediately.
Here are a few resources form the NHS that you can make use of if you are suicidal, depressed, or engageing in self harm.
- Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: [email protected] for a reply within 24 hours
- Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text “YM” if you’re under 19
- If you’re under 19, you can also call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill.
- Self Injury Support webchat (for women and girls) is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7pm to 9.30pm
- CALM webchat (for men) is open from 5pm to midnight every day
You can also reach out to your local medical service providers or a mental health service provider.
If you are hesitant about reaching out for help, speak to a trusted friend or adult about what you are going through.
Do not hesitate to make use of resources provided to seek out professional support.
Seek out professional help
If you have been depressed for more than two weeks and it is impacting your other relationships and your professional life, we advise you to seek out professional help immediately.
Depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition.
Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person.
Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.
Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time.
In this blog we presented you a list of South Korean K-pop Idols who have been open about their struggle with depression.
FAQ related to Kpop idols who have been open about depression
Why are kpop idols depressed?
According to a report by Magdalene, the Asian medical Centre noted that emotional instability and separation of identity is a major cause of depression amongst kpop idols.
It is speculated that the stress of their schedules and the lack of a private life in most cases are some of the factors that lead to much mental distress amongst entertainers.
Why are K-pop stars susceptible to depression?
It is speculated that the stress of their work, the lack of a private life, and the demands of fame can cause the deterioration of mental well-being in entertainers.
The stigma around mental health issues might have also added a negative load on entertained causing them to feel more isolated due to their struggles leading to more mental anguish.
Are kpop idols happy?
Kpop idols like any normal human being have their ups and downs too. They have bad days and happy days too.
However, because we do not have a privy into their inner worlds, one cannot say if they are happy or not nor can we speculate that they are depressed or unhappy with their lives simply because they look dejected and tired.
Do kpop idols have eating disorders?
Because of the demanding and unrealistic beauty standards, the appearance and performance pressures on these young K-Pop idols could have led to eating disorders.
However it has to be mentioned that unless it has been disclosed by the idols themselves, one cannot speculate that they have a disorder.
Can K-pop be a coping mechanism?
This interdependent relationship between the kpop groups and fans helps fans derive comfort from the relationship as well as the connections they gain from other fans.
This is often seen as a positive impact on the life of an individual and can help them cope with the struggles of their real lives.
Shrishaila Bhandary. K-pop Celebs Who Suffered From Depression But Fought Against It! RepublicWorld.com. Retrieved on 28th march 2022. https://www.republicworld.com/entertainment-news/music/k-pop-idols-who-suffered-from-depression-but-fought-against-it.html
K-Pop Celebs Who Have Faced Depression And Other Mental Health Issues. HerWorld. Retrieved on 28th march 2022. https://www.herworld.com/gallery/life/entertainment/kpop-celebrities-suicide-depression/
8 Idols Who Opened Up About Their Experience Fighting Severe Depression. Koreaboo. Retrieved on 28th March 2022. https://www.koreaboo.com/lists/8-idols-open-experience-battling-depression/