Last year, we lost two young Korean singers to suicide. Sulli, a former member of girl group f(x) was found dead in her home on October 14. Goo Hara, former member of girl group KARA, passed away in her house in November the same year.
With their deaths come the discussion about mental health—both were battling depression—and highlight the importance of why we should remove the stigma around suicidal tendencies.
It’s a heavy subject which isn’t discussed much in our daily lives, so it’s understandable if you find yourself at a loss when you learn that your friend might have suicidal tendencies.
And here’s the thing: it’s really hard to tell when someone is suicidal, or when they’ll attempt suicide.
Sulli had always been a champion for contravening societal norms. She often went braless and was unapologetic about it despite naysayers condemning her online. Many artists applauded her for not giving a damn about naysayers. Many didn’t expect to lose her to suicide.
And then there’s Hara, Sulli’s good friend. She attempted suicide in May. She was said to be battling depression, and the lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend took a toll on her. He received a sentence in August and with her release of new Japanese single in September and regular posts on Instagram recently, some fans thought she got better.
Her death yesterday came as a shock to many.
In both instances, the people around them were either not aware of their suicidal tendencies, or the magnitude of their suicidal thoughts.
When Nadera—then 21 years-old—was in her final year of university, she found that she had trouble sleeping and couldn’t seem to concentrate on her studies. She confided in her friends, who told her they felt the same way, and blamed it on the stress from their examinations.
Except for her, it wasn’t just that.
Things seemed normal on the surface, but unbeknownst to everyone else, Nadera was experiencing suicidal ideation—also known as suicidal thoughts.
And even though she was already getting professional help from counsellors, Nadera found it difficult to open up to others about her feelings.
“I was really worried that they would inform my parents,” she says. “I didn’t want my parents to know.”
Because she found it difficult to talk about her suicidal thoughts, she did not get the help she needed to cope with it. She attempted suicide later that year.
In recent years, the conversations around mental health have grown, and we are now more aware of the importance of de-stigmatising mental illnesses than ever before. But suicide still remains a taboo for many, which makes it difficult for those who experience suicidal thoughts to talk about it and seek help – be it from a medical professional or their loved ones.
People who experience suicidal ideation are advised to spend more time with other people, and to talk about what’s going through their minds. So while you may not be a trained professional, you could still be the difference in someone’s life.