Originally, I didn’t know if this would be appropriate to post on here. But I wanted to briefly talk about it because I was shocked at how much this situation impacted me, and as someone who wants to pursue a career in social/mental health services, I feel as if I have an obligation to talk about it.
Many of you probably already know that at one point in my life, I was obsessed with kpop. While many girls my age were crazy over the Jonas Brothers and whoever else was culturally relevant in 2009, my friends and I were busy fangirling over kpop bands. SHINee was one of the bands that fuelled my obsession. Even though I mostly stopped listening to kpop near the end of high school, the news of Jonghyun’s death had my friends and I (as well as the rest of the world) feeling completely shocked and heartbroken. As more details came out about his death, it made me feel frustrated and angry about the situations surrounding his death, but also deeply sad for the struggles that Jonghyun must have gone through.
It saddens me that depression and mental health still isn’t something that people take seriously. I’m not trying to downplay that though, I realize we are making strides towards ending that stigma, but I personally feel as if we still have a long way to go. Jonghyun had opened up to his doctor about depression and the doctor just told him it was a voice in his head that would go away. No!! Of course, I definitely don’t know Jonghyun personally, but I feel as angry as I would if someone I loved had received the same treatment. It angers me that someone would even think it’s okay to tell someone else that, when they came to you in confidence and trust! It is very sad that Jonghyun’s death was needed as a sort of wake up call to the nation that a person’s mental health is so important and central to everything else in their life.
I am not a trained professional by any means, but it doesn’t take someone with a doctorate degree to reach out to someone who is in trouble. Look for warning signs in your loved ones. Don’t just let them know you are there for them. Actively check up on them if you are concerned with their words or actions. Help them get help. And don’t wait to let the people in your life know how important they are to you. Tell them now. Tell people you love and care for them and that they make a difference in your life, because life is too short to be full of pride.
I just wanted to share something I learned in one of my classes this semester. It is called Mental Health First Aid, and I feel like they are just basic steps that anyone can use to help them approach someone they are concerned about, or the first steps that can help someone who has asked you for help. The steps are remembered by the acronym ALGEE, but they don’t have to be performed in that order.
- Assess the risk
- Listen non-judgementally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help strategies
Please know that you are important and that you matter. The world would not be what it is today if it was not for you. Rest in peace Kim Jonghyun. Thank you for giving me years of happiness, even when you were suffering. You did well.