With An Influx Of K-Pop Idols Getting Diagnosed With Anxiety Disorder, What Can Agencies Do Better
Recently, there has been an increasing number of idols who have been experiencing anxiety and other forms of mental stress, thusly suspending their activities. They suffer all kinds of abuse, such as malicious comments on the Internet to hoaxes, sasaeng fans and the stress of intense competition from an early age. Because of this, there is an increasing demand for measures to be taken to protect artists’ mental and emotional health.
It was announced earlier this week that Oh My Girl‘s Jiho would be halting activities due to psychological anxiety. At the time, her agency WM Entertainment said, “Jiho has been visiting the hospital since the second half of last year due to the deterioration of her health and anxiety. Her health has gotten worse recently and we felt that she should take a break from the group as health is a top priority.”
Just before Jiho’s break was announced, MONSTA X‘s Jooheon‘s agency STARSHIP Entertainment also announced that the singer had health concerns that kept him out of group promotions and that he would take a temporary hiatus due to his anxiety symptoms.
At the beginning of January, Blockberry Creative announced that LOONA‘s Haseul visited the hospital to treat symptoms of anxiety and was diagnosed with a recurring anxiety disorder, leading her to sit out of promotions on her doctor’s advice.
In November 2019, S. Coups of SEVENTEEN also temporarily suspended his activities. His company, Pledis Entertainment, released a statement that read, “…after thorough discussion, all of the SEVENTEEN members, including S.COUPS himself, have decided that it would be best for him to take the time to rest and temporarily abstain from participating in SEVENTEEN’s activities.”
S. Coups wasn’t the only celebrity to have to temporarily suspend activities in 2019. Over the summer, TWICE‘s Mina was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and is still more or less on break from activities, despite her best efforts.
In addition, Cosmic Girl‘s Dawon, who is part of the same agency as MONSTA X, was revealed to be suffering from anxiety and went to the hospital for an accurate diagnosis. Stray Kids‘ Han showed signs of intermittent psychological anxiety, and Kang Daniel was revealed to have been diagnosed with depression, which had a severe impact on his health.
In particular, TWICE’s Jihyo recently came out and revealed that she suffers from both anxiety and depression saying, “It became difficult for me to stand in front of people, say even a word, or to even perform. My fears began too large that I had to go to the hospital during our tour. I received consultation and medication but they didn’t help me much.”
In recent years, the number of cases where idols announce a temporary hiatus due to mental stress has increased dramatically. Members of the pop community cited unreasonable activities and constant exposure to malicious comments.
According to one source, “Because I’ve been active since I was young, I have suffered a great deal of psychological oppression and a schedule that keeps me exhausted mentally and physically.” They added that the presence of sasaeng fans exacerbated the problems.
Although currently, most entertainment offices have been openly discussing the mental health of their idols and have suspended their activities after a diagnosis, it’s believed that a company should internally carry out periodic psychological treatment and give their support and focus on the treatment at hospitals to help their artists recover their health.
An unnamed official from within the industry said, “Regaining stability is a top priority. Before decided whether we suspend activities, we go to hospitals and other places, as well as discussing the schedules. Internally, I am trying to prevent idols and trainees from suffering psychologically by providing them with treatment.“