The topic of mental health and illnesses is something that isn’t talked about enough in the K-Pop industry, especially with all the pressure that idols deal with. Fortunately, it does seem to have become slightly less taboo in recent years, and some idols have felt comfortable enough to be upfront and honest with mental health struggles that they’ve dealt with. Here are 6 such idols that have talked about their struggles and advice with fans.
1. Kang Daniel
Not only has Kang Daniel been honest about his struggles with mental illness, but he based an entire album around the subject. Yellow, which was released in April 2021 and included songs such as “Paranoia” and “Antidote”, references the three-month-long break he took in November 2019 to focus on his mental health after dealing with depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. Fortunately, the break seemed to help with how he felt about himself and the industry, and he returned stronger.
I don’t think I’ve changed, but feel like there has been a change. I still read bad comments but, because I was able to overcome them once, I can just deal with it now… There’s a certain way to do that, and I trust myself and the people around me to help. There are good days and bad days but there’s always a reason to live. There’s good things about life and that’s what I look for.
— Kang Daniel (NME)
2. Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)
Back in June 2019, Taeyeon got candid about her struggles with depression through her Instagram story. In particular, it seems to impact her most after she’s done with concerts and touring and is left feeling alone when she’s no longer around so many people. When someone rudely sent her a question during the “Ask Me Anything” session that asked if she had bipolar disorder and ended it with a “tsk tsk”, Taeyeon’s response was appropriately critical.
No, I am suffering from depression. Right now I am taking medicine and working hard to get better. Whether it is bipolar disorder or depression, don’t just “tsk tsk” people and look at them negatively. They are all patients who are sick and in pain.
We’re happy to see K-Pop idols defending not only their own mental struggles, but those of others as well.
3. Renjun (NCT)
Renjun is one of the most outspoken members of NCT when it comes to mental health. Though he hasn’t been specific about what he’s struggled with, he has talked about having a hard time before, and how learning art therapy from someone was extremely beneficial for him.
Renjun : There was a point where I really had a hard time, but I met a good teacher. I draw, it’s called art therapy it’s healing your mind through drawing and I met the teacher who help the people who have hard times, they became a great help in my life+
— Dyva🌸 (@captainuwu) June 11, 2021
4. Han (Stray Kids)
Han isn’t the only member of Stray Kids who has discussed having trouble with his mental health, but he did have a period of time during the group’s promotions where he had to be absent from some events due to his anxiety. He has talked about having social anxiety when in certain situations, and JYP Entertainment made an announcement in December 2019 that he would be taking a break from some fan signs due to “intermittent psychological anxiety”. Thankfully, fans were quick to send their love and support to Han at the time, and his anxiety seems to be more stable these days.
5. Hani (EXID)
For quite a while, Hani has spoken about her interest in becoming a psychotherapist after she’s finished with her idol career. She expressed her desire to work with K-Pop idols in particular, since she knows how difficult that life can be and dealt with her own mental health challenges during her career. She was even recently revealed to be dating a psychiatrist, which suits her future career goals!
6. Jay B (GOT7)
In an interview with ARENA Magazine in March 2021, Jay B revealed that he had been diagnosed with clinical depression. The diagnosis came as a surprise to him, as he’d thought he was “just weaker mentally than other people”. Thankfully, he started going to therapy and taking medication after his diagnosis, which has helped a lot. Through this experience, he encouraged fans to seek professional help for their own mental illnesses if needed, and that there is no shame in taking care of yourself and your mental health.