By now you have probably heard the terrible news that Sojin, a former DSP trainee and member of Baby Kara, has been confirmed dead as a result of suicide. Our deepest condolences to Sojin’s friends and family. We respect their need for privacy right now.
But we need to talk about suicide.
According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15-29 years old. Globally, suicides account for 71% of all violent deaths in women. In Korea, for females aged 15-29 years old, the suicide rate is 14.9 per 100,000 (2012). This is too much. Suicide is preventable.
The WHO lists many potential risk factors, including “difficulties in accessing health care and in receiving the care needed, easy availability of the means for suicide...and stigma against people who seek help for suicidal behaviours, or for mental health and substance abuse problems.”
You may think that there isn’t much we can do about suicide. And while it’s true that some of the prevention methods listed by the WHO are policy based, like restricting access to the means for suicide and incorporating suicide prevention as a core component of health-care services, you can make a difference too.
Because community plays a huge role in suicide prevention. Communities provide “social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide.” As a member of the Kpop community, you can make a difference.
For years, we have been averting our eyes and refusing to talk about mental health. Every 40 seconds, a person dies from suicide. Isn’t it time we opened our eyes and spoke up?