Tragedies Happen Frequently for Korean Stars! Heed Warnings to Prevent Suicide Imitations

Goo Hara, the famous former member of South Korea’s girl group KARA, was found dead at home at the end of November this year (2019). It was later confirmed that she had committed suicide. She was only 28 years old. Unexpectedly, in early December, the 27-year-old actor Cha In-ha also died suddenly at home. Because his family did not want to disclose the cause of death, the police finally closed the case as depression. Although this kind of tragedy is not the first time, it has happened one after another in a short period of time. In addition to the personal factors behind it, there are other reasons such as online bullying, depression, violence and stress, and whether the identity of the celebrity will cause fans or the public to “imitate” ”, it needs everyone to understand and pay attention to it. Please start from ourselves, further observe and care for our family and friends, and prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

Online verbal bullying is one of the triggers

Goo Hara, who is only 28 years old, debuted with the group KARA in 2007 and has always been quite famous in the Korean entertainment industry. However, last year, the fight between her and her boyfriend made headlines in South Korean newspapers. After police investigation, it was found that the man was violent to her and even threatened to release her sex videos and forced her to kneel down to apologize. All kinds of things slandered Hara’s image and made her She hit rock bottom. After a series of incidents, the well-known Korean forum Theqoo and Goo Hara’s social networking site began to make some comments calling for the release of sex videos, or criticized Goo Hara for being ignorant and other abusive remarks. Hara, who was deeply hit, also suffered from depression. In May of this year, Hara wrote in a limited-time Instagram story, “I have to pretend not to be tired even when I am tired, and I have to pretend not to be in pain even though I am in pain. I have been enduring life like this. The outside looks intact, but the inside is already broken. “Unbearable”, “Goodbye” and other words, she was found to have attempted suicide at home the next day, and was finally rescued. However, on October 14, news came out that Hara’s good friend in the entertainment industry, Sulli, committed suicide at home. Although Goo Hara also opened an Instagram live broadcast at that time to express her condolences and promised fans that she would live with Sulli. But this incident seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. On the evening of the 23rd, Goo Hara posted a selfie on Instagram and wrote “Good night”, still choosing to go to a dead end.

Depressed woman sitting on the floor in front of yellow background.

Suicide imitation comes from the “Werther effect”

There have been many suicide cases in the Korean entertainment industry before, well-known ones include Jonghyun (December 18, 2017), Sulli (October 14, 2019), and Hara Gu (November 24, 2019). They diagnosed with depression during their lifetime. They were singers who gained immense popularity among the youth, Choi Sulli and Goo Hara are also very close friends in private. Therefore, in addition to fans worrying that their circle of friends will be deeply affected, experts are also worried that it will cause a copycat effect.

The so-called suicide imitation, also known as the “Werther effect”, originated from Johann Goethe’s famous novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther” more than 200 years ago. Europe triggered a trend of imitating Werther’s suicide. Suicide imitation, as it is now referred to, refers to the suicidal behavior of a specific person to generate suicidal thoughts and actions. In addition, the suicide of someone close to you, negative social trends, and the mental illness of the person who commits suicide may increase the suicide rate.

There are suicide copycat cases in the United States and Japan

Studies have pointed out that when the community and the media widely report the suicide of celebrities, the suicide rate will indeed increase. The most famous example is the American actress Marilyn Monroe. Within a month after her suicide, the number of suicides in the United States increased. The rate increased by 12%. In Japan, it is called “Yukiko syndrome” after the pop singer Yukiko Okada, who committed suicide and caused a sharp increase in Japan’s suicide rate.

So far, the exact reason why celebrity suicide may be “contagious” is still unknown, but according to experiments by psychologist Albert Bandura, people’s thoughts and behaviors will be affected by the important people in their lives. Behavioral influence, social learning theory (Social learning theory) should also confirm this. Therefore, celebrity suicide can easily make fans think that suicide is a socially acceptable behavior. In addition, if the fans themselves have psychological problems such as depression, they are more likely to be overwhelmed and tragedy may occur.

Frequent suicides force the government to formulate relevant policies

Take Korean celebrities as an example. Behind their glamorous appearance, they actually carry a lot of baggage. Many celebrities’ personal social networking sites are flooded with negative comments every day, criticizing everything from their appearance and abilities to their personal lives. This kind of online bullying has caused great pressure on celebrities. If the management company knew that the artist had depression, it would only ask them to take medication to suppress the condition, without requiring more rigorous treatment. After the suicide of Choi Sulli, the South Korean Entertainment Management Association emphasized that it would not sit idly by and do nothing. In addition to planning psychological counseling for celebrities, the South Korean government also began to formulate laws prohibiting malicious comments on the Internet, controlling “online bad comments” and “online real-name systems”.

In order to prevent tragedies from happening again, we should know how to care for those around us. In fact, people who commit suicide often send out a lot of cues, and if we pay more attention, we may be able to prevent the tragedy from happening. There are four types of suicide warning signs:

  1. Feelings:
    Too much negative emotions, anxiety, shame and other helpless feelings. For example, in May this year, Goo Hara wrote in a limited time update on a social networking site, “I have to pretend not to be tired even when I am tired, and I have to pretend not to be in pain even though I am in pain. I have been enduring life like this. On the outside, I look intact. My heart is already broken”, “Goodbye” and other words.
  2. Action:
    Talk a lot about death, alcohol or drug abuse.
  3. Changes:
    Sleeping or eating too little or too much, personality may also become polarized, becoming more withdrawn or overly extroverted. For example, before she committed suicide, Cui Shirley took on the role of host of a program that faced vicious comments from netizens. She remained cheerful despite the vicious comments on the show. At that time, many people thought that her depression had been cured, but they did not expect that she would be cured in the end. Unfortunately something happened.
  4. Bad omen:
    Make arrangements for people and things around you, send away beloved things.

If these warning signs are detected, relatives and friends should make time as much as possible, find a quiet and private place, listen to the person who wants to commit suicide, treat them with respect and tolerance, and pay attention to whether there is any immediate danger. If the suicidal person has high suicidal intent, avoid giving the person access to tools that can harm him or herself, or stay with them as much as possible, and contact a professional or physician to arrange for an ambulance and hospitalization.

Suicide cannot solve the problem, but it leaves the family with great sorrow. Please cherish life and give yourself another chance.

  1. Suicide Prevention UK
    Suicide Prevention UK
    Suite 601
    179 Whiteladies Road,
    Bristol, BS8 2AG.
    Tel: 0800 689 5652
  2. Grassroots Suicide Prevention
    Grassroots Suicide Prevention
    113 Queens Rd
    BN1 3XG
    Tel: 01273 234834
  3. Samaritans
    The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey KT17 2AF
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8394 8300
  4. Papyrus UK
    Bankside 2, Crosfield Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1UP
    Tel: 01925 572 444

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