The South Korean government has unveiled a plan to help prevent the deaths of celebrities and the death of fans of cockpits through suicide.
The plan was announced on Friday, a few days after the Ministry of Education and Health and Welfare held a joint meeting on the issue.
Korea is currently enjoying global success in K-pop, television drama series and feature films. But the industry is seen to succeed through a high-pressure system where the failure rate is high, and success comes through intense online verification-sorting.
In recent years, several Korean celebrities and media personalities have taken their own lives, the causes of which are thought to include frustration, guilt, shame and cyber-bullying. The most publicized in 2018 was due to the suicide of K-pop boyband Shini member Zhanghiun. The following year, the suicides of actors Sully and Go Hara spread further shock through the entertainment industry, raising the mental health concerns of K-pop stars.
The goal of the updated suicide prevention plan is to remove blind spots in the mental health management of Korean celebrities and artists by agents and managers. This is to increase the number of psychological counseling conducted by the Korean Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) from 100 this year to 100,000 in 2022. The country’s mental health service will send its ‘Heart Relief Bus’ to see more movie sets. Financial assistance and medical expenses will be increased for recreational income earners.
The ‘Worth Effect’ is the next imitation of suicide after being widely publicized, especially by celebrities or high-profile personalities. Ministries recommend intensive monitoring of media reporting.
Although the causes and effects are hard to prove, it is known that fans have taken their own lives, citing widely discussed events such as the #MeToo movement or the Burning Sun scandal related to the Big Bang’s Seungri. Death as a result of the suicide of celebrities can not only provide a reference to the fans (known as Saseng in Korea), but also reduce guilt and enable the fans to take extreme measures.
If you or someone you know in the United States has suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. In other areas, please call your local Suicide Hotline.