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Mental Health in Korea

August 29, 2013

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So, before we begin, we just want to state how hesitant we were to talk about this topic. It’s a sensitive topic, and I know that some keyboard warriors get very defensive when we talk about issues in Korea. We saw this topic come up a few times in the questions you send us, and we figured that now, after we’ve done a couple lighthearted topics, we could tackle this subject, without our TL;DRs seeming too overwhelmingly serious. Serious topics are great at times, but put up too many in a row and people will start thinking of you differently. More awkward stories and fart jokes are needed to water down the severity.

Back to talking srsly: what surprises us the most about discussions on mental health in Korea is the lack of talk about it from Korean teachers. ADHD is a fairly open topic to discuss, from our experiences at least, as teachers in Canada. In Canada, before we stepped into any classroom we taught we’d be given a list of all of the special needs of the students in the class. For instance, I once had a student in Canada who needed all of his handouts to be printed on blue paper. In Korea, we weren’t given any such reports. We were just warned about bad students. That’s it. The students who we saw had ADHD weren’t accommodated by teachers, just ignored, or thought of as bad seeds. Students with autism were also just left to their own devices. Any talk about special needs for students was met with blank stares. Maybe it was just our schools. Maybe things have changed since then. I hope they have, because there are students in Korea who need help and aren’t getting it.

Outside of the classroom, though, this is a topic that we have very little experience with in Korea. We haven’t experienced any counselling services here, and so we can’t compare them to the ones we received ourselves while we were in Canada. When we asked people here in Korea who have friends in universities, though, we were told that very little in terms of services are offered. Is that the case for all universities? I’m not sure. Hell, I’m not even sure if all universities in Canada offer counselling services. We do know that they were really important to us when we needed them. In our video Martina talked about her use of counsellors. I was going to a counsellor right up until I met Martina as well. Both of us benefitted greatly from our counsellors, and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the help we got. Especially considering the high suicide rate in Korea, a more open and accepting approach to counselling wouldn’t hurt. Soo Zee says it’s starting to happen in morning shows more. Hopefully we can see the topic approached more broadly from now on.

Since we don’t know that much more about it, and can’t really say more about the topic, if you’ve got anything to share, any info you can give, now’s the time to share. Any places you know of that are useful, any services that you know that are offered now, let us know, and hopefully other readers here can use that info if they need it.

Anyhow, if you liked this video, and want to see us talk more about our experiences in Korea, you should subscribe! We just passed the 400,000 subscriber mark today. Huzzah! Time to start planning out a video to celebrate! Till then, you should click on the button below if you haven’t already:

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Mental Health in Korea

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  1. Wow that is so encouraging to see that these kids can actually get the help they need. I grew up with AD/HD but needed a lot more help than I was given and to see them getting what they need warms my heart.

    3 years ago
  2. If you are concerned about relapses, I’d suggest talking to your doctor about these concerns and see if you can get some dosages before leaving as an emergency supply. That way you don’t have to stress about finding them or waiting for them to arrive. I don’t know about how easy/hard it’d be to get meds for relapses though. You may want to look into getting someone to mail them to you.

    3 years ago
  3. Former ESL Teacher in Korea, Sufferer of Depression

    – I know my school (regular public middle school) had a special ed classroom and special ed teacher (specialized in the subject) though I know that’s not always the case

    – There are some special ed SCHOOLS in Korea, I’ve heard from co-workers, but those are only a recent thing and not too common. But expensive!!!

    – Why there aren’t any guidance counsellors in Korean schools? I know from talking to some of my Korean co-workers that Koreans, in general, don’t like to talk about their problems to other people that they KNOW so talking to counselors would be even more difficult and more frowned upon. It comes down to saving ‘face’ and image

    – True story: one of the boys at my school suffers from a mental illness (sorry I don’t remember the name ^^;;) and in his family, he has a younger brother who does as well. He use to have an older brother who didn’t but he died in a car accident. My co-teacher told me about the story but when she did, she talked about how the other teachers pitied the mother because her “normal” son died so young and was left with two “special” sons to take care of. Yeahhhh~~

    – As someone who suffers from depression: you do NOT talk about it at your job site. Period. Koreans don’t understand what it means to be suffering something like depression, or any other mental illness. I can see this being a result of a lack of understanding and not having those types of discussions with people. “Oh, you’re depressed? Just stop thinking about what makes you depressed and that’ll solve you’re problem.” Errrr that’s not how depression works yo.

    – People who suffer from mental illness and want to work in Korea: don’t put it on your application or resume. Or mention it in the job interview. I’ve talked to other people who’ve suffered from mental health issues as well and they’ve agreed that that’s the best thing to do due to Korean society lack of understanding/tolerance of the subject, and it can be used as a type of discrimination

    3 years ago
    • You need to see a doctor to get the medication, but I’m sure if you ask around any ex-pats when you land for suggestions, they’ll be able to help you out with a doctor who’d give you medication. Or even go onto Ex-Pat forums to see what they have to say. As for will your employer find out about it, errrr… from my experience and others, they don’t find out about it if you don’t say anything really about it. I’ve never heard about employers finding out after the fact if any fallout happens. I think the general role of thumb is if you act happy and smiles and you act fairly stable, they don’t go looking into that kinda stuff.
      I went on my meds in Korea (side note: I MISS YOU KOREAN MEDICARE!!! I don’t know what I was taking but it was $20 for a month and a half worth of DAILY meds) but I was able to get medicine easily enough through a doctor’s prescription and a visit to the pharmacy (just a normal one). Other case: I have a friend living overseas and I know she gets her meds mailed to her (not sure how that works) so that would be something you’d have to discuss with your doctor. My best suggestion would be to ask around on ESL/Ex-Pat forums about your meds and see how easy/hard it is to get them, if possible and if not, talk to your doctor about it :)

      3 years ago
  4. Thank you for discussing these issues; I know you guys are always hesitant about serious discussions, but for those of us wanting to go to Korea, this is information that is totally useful. You talked mostly about ADHD, autism, and anxiety/depression, but I was curious as to “more serious” mental illnesses. I’ve been told there is a stigma about illnesses such as schizophrenia (more so in Japan apparently, but still existent), and was wondering if having a family history, or discussing it openly, would be an issue there?

    3 years ago
  5. Every time I hear about touchy subjects and it involves schools in Korea I always end up with this desire to just go to South Korea and build a school unlike any other Korean school that will be built for the students and to help the students JESUS CHRIST! Although I know that will most likely never happen! But I would love to help in some way!!!!

    3 years ago
  6. As someone studying Psychology, I really do think that it is a major concern. I would say that South Korea needs a whole lot more awareness about these problems and its seriousness. Mental health in my country isn’t that great either but things are slowly changing here. We’re more and more embracing and aware about mental illnesses here. I hope Korea will come to realize it too.

    3 years ago
  7. Thank you for addressing this topic.

    3 years ago
  8. Thankyou so much for posting this! I am currently writing essays to earn scholarships to study at sungkyunkwan university in korea (wish me luck) as a psychology major. This is so relevant to what i want to study and do with my life. ^^ -hopefully its a sign of good fortune.

    3 years ago
  9. I notice more and more kpop artists are getting tattoos. I too, l have a number of tattoos and I felt happy to see Koreans stars with their own tattoos. How do Koreans accept tattooing in general?

    3 years ago
  10. Man, what an intrusion of privacy that companies can look at your medical records. That’s just sooo messed up. I hope that counseling will become more and more accepted. It seems like the best rout for the government to take instead of only dealing with surface issues…

    3 years ago
  11. This makes my heart break a little bit. I have two severely autistic brothers who can barely communicate with anyone and are far behind the rest of kids their age. My one brother is 16 and has no reading comprehension skills at all. I just hate to imagine kids just like my brothers having no one to go to for help and no special education. I hope there will be change coming soon.

    3 years ago
  12. I know that Singapore (and I guess this will kinda extend to SK as well) in the past, mental illness wasn’t acknowledged as mental illness, but more passed off as behavioural problems. However, they’ve now begun to properly acknowledge mental illnesses and provide better access to the professionals.

    3 years ago
  13. This is heartbreaking, I can think of personal experiences for nearly all the worst case examples you talked about! I wanna give Korea the benefit here though because like you said they seem to be developing, and maybe you’re constantly reminded being in Korea and all, but the country’s development so far is in its infancy so it’s still got a long way to go! Korea seems like a country that is very much set in a modern fast paced society with somewhat archaic values/ very old fashioned mind sets. I hope you’re right and that issues like these get addressed as soon as possible!
    Also the story of the autistic kid reminds me of the movie Silenced ( Korean movie featuring Gong Yoo).

    3 years ago
  14. Same here…. I had to quit uni too for a while… I wanna move to Korea too, so I’m hoping things will get better in the future… It’s not like my country is paradise for people with mental issues, it’s just a tiny bit better I guess…
    Anyway, I don’t get all this racism…. We’re in the 21st century, and people still think that being depressed means you’ ve lost it and you wanna jump out the window all the time. Seeriously…. :/

    P.S. Martina I saw what you did there with your hair!! LOVING IT!! Spudgy blueeeeeee……. ^_^

    3 years ago
  15. Have you guys watched Good Doctor? I don’t think it’s super relevant to this topic, but the actor portrays autism really well.

    3 years ago
  16. This topic is so true. I have ADHD and a whole but of other disabilties and i have experenced stuff like what you are talking about. Almost all my friends are Korean I also go to a Korean Church. Personally I can’t stand like they do and pray i feel more comfortable sitting. Along with other things. And all elders would do is come up to me and as me why i am not doing what there doing. Asking me if i was okie because i wasn’t doing what there doing. It makes sence that there just worried but when i told them i just have to sit and etc they just gave me blank stares. My one friend asked me one day and i told him my disablities.. and he gave me this blank stare and all he said was “but they will go away right?” I looked at him it’s not that simple ADHD and my other disablities don’t just go away. His thinking on all of this is was that it was all in my head. He had no idea … when it comes to the rest of my friends a few of them understand because they have been in canada for a long time but all the people i have found unless they have went to school for psycology they think its all in there head and it will go away. There is also one thing is people with ADHD can spot other people with ADHD. like you can be taught the signs and etc. I know when i go to church there is this one little boy who is 3 years old and i could till when i first might him a year ago that he had ADHD. His parents don’t even help him they let him run around and do what he wants, scream and do everything. which isn’t bad but everything i see him he also has chocalate. I thought maybe it was a sugar high because he is so young and lots of sugar so unless he gets what ever he wants and thats sugar all the time i know the boy has ADHD.

    I think the big thing is and it’s the same mentally with LGBT people also in korea and this is what my korean friends have told me. is that Koreans believe that there is nothing wrong. It’s like the parent saying it’s okie if that the neibours child is Gay but it’s not okie if mine is. That also goes same for disabilties. A lot of koreans believe that stuff like disablities and LGBT people are something that only happens outside of Korea. Korea is such techniolically advanced country but they still go on old vaules which isn’t bad but it harms many people as you can see.

    3 years ago
  17. Interesting topic. My mother is a Special ED teacher in the US and I hear all the time about the different accommodations that need to be implemented for each student on an IEP. She still struggles with getting some of the general ED teachers to comply with the accommodations but with parents threatening to sue the school if their kid isn’t getting the proper help they require the special ED students are taken care of pretty dang well.

    She’s told me before her parents came from a generation where getting any sort of mental help was a stigma and you were supposed to deal with issues on your own and not show anyone your weaknesses. She’s had some kind of anxiety pretty much all her life and would have benefited from seeing someone about it if it wasn’t such a taboo back then.

    (It is a slight double edged sword as well. Some students come to depend on their disability as a crutch (with their parents threatening to sue the school as their support) when they really could push themselves to try harder and would actually do well in school.)

    No system is ever perfect but I’m glad there is a better acceptance rate when it comes to how people perceive mental health than there was in the past.

    Hopefully more of Korea will come to accept that mental health is important and shouldn’t be hidden away or ignored.

    3 years ago
  18. Oh my gosh, wow. That was enlightening and terrible to hear. It makes me really thankful that in the US we have HIPAA (which is an act that protects the privacy of a patients mental records). Although there is a stigma of mental illness in the US (look at the current push to make mental health providers more affordable and available) at least there are guidance councilors for those that are willing to go for help.

    This makes me wonder about politics and lawmaking in Korea. Does anyone know if there are lobbyists (if that exists) or people that are pushing to change this. By the sound of it, this is a huge form of discrimination.

    Btw: Great TL;DR. It’s good to see that you guise actually have experience with this.

    3 years ago
  19. that’s so sad to hear :(( In germany it’s not that big of an issue a friend of mine goes to a psychotherapist and it really helps her and another friend of mine thought about going too and we told her to go and that she doesn’t have to be embarrassed about having problems

    3 years ago
  20. This tl;dr got me curious though. What is it like for people with physical disabilities like people in wheelchairs or on crutches. Are places wheelchair accessible/ wheelchair friendly? Are there handicapped parking spots? Are the sidewalks wheelchair friendly? I. Ask because I have a friend in a wheelchair and even here in America I know it can be a pain the a** for him to get around, huge cracks or holes in the sidewalk and aisles at some stores are too narrow.

    3 years ago
    • I went to school in Busan for a semester and noticed very few areas where steps were taken to accommodate for people with physical disabilities. One thing I noticed was that the bathrooms by my classes (which were on the forth floor) had handicap stalls, but there were no elevators in the building. I brought this up to one of my teachers and they said the law said they had to have the stalls, but not the elevators. I see no sense >.<

      3 years ago
    • As a Korean adoptee with a prosthetic leg who went on a trip this summer with other Korean adoptees (one being in a wheelchair), I found Korea very difficult for physically disabled people. Our friend with a wheelchair had a lot of obstacles. At least 90% of the buildings had stairs leading up to them and he was taken out of his wheelchair, placed in a seat, then had his wheelchair carried inside. The wheelchair could not go into restaurants or buildings that required shoes to be taken off. Not to mention the Seoul subway system has a maze of stairs and very few elevators. I’d suggest if you are in a wheelchair, make sure your upper body strength is prime and take a few strong able bodied people along with you!
      The reason that I was placed for adoption was because my parents knew I had limb abnormalities in the womb and at the time, 20 years ago, there were few good medical institutions that could provide prosthetics. Only 20 years ago! It’s interesting that the Korean social acceptance is very naive compared to its GDP.

      My family’s Korean friend who is about 50 told me she had a neighbor that she played with as a child in Busan. The neighbor, a young girl, used a wheelchair. But the little girl did not attend school or leave the apartment; Her parents kept her locked in their apartment. It was like this child was their “secret” that no one else knew. It seems like the parents were ashamed of their child’s disability and that others would judge them, which is so wrong.

      3 years ago
    • I completely get that. I was fighting fit until this year when I became ill and now have to use a wheelchair. Before, it never even crossed my mind, but now I know how difficult it is to manoeuvre around shops with tight isles, uneven pavements, opening doors etc.
      But yes, I’d like to know how disability friendly Korea is too, as I’d very much like to visit someday :)

      3 years ago
    • I’ve been wondering the same thing as I’m physically disabled myself. I notice a lot of stairs or steps in the food shops they go to and wondered how common ramps and elevators are. Also curious how people with disabilities are treated in general.

      3 years ago
    • I wondered the same and also I was curious about people with hearing disabilities (as I do and in america I had a hard time getting teachers to cooperate even though I did have a consoller) or those who are blind along with physical disabilities. And I was curious about the attitude towards people with such disabilities

      3 years ago
    • Yeah that got me curious too. Like don’t you walk a lot in Korea, especially the city with all the traffic. From subways to taxis. I think in the USA, we have a van service for people in wheelchairs but I’m not sure if it’s just for the elderly or anyone who can’t really walk and don’t have their own handicap van.

      3 years ago
      • The van services are for anyone with disabilities who needs assistance with transportation.

        3 years ago
  21. Although it’s not the same kind of disability, I’d love to know how it is for physically disabled people in Korea, wheelchair users etc.

    Thank you

    3 years ago
  22. What are your experiences with religion in Korea? Do you find people tend to shy away from it or embrace it?

    3 years ago
    • korea is one of the most religious accepting countries in the world.

      3 years ago
  23. Martina, did you dye some of your hair blue? :O Spudgy wont like that!

    3 years ago
    • Yeah I was wondering what that was too. I thought maybe it was another bow or something…

      3 years ago
  24. Wan

    Those poor poor kids in high school, I can’t even imagine…

    3 years ago
  25. Very interesting TL;DR, thanks for deciding to do it and sharing your experiences! I have been curious about this topic for a while. I really hope Korea can evolve and become more accepting of counselors and medication for mental illnesses etc. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD, to just name a few, are SO common and I hope Korea can learn to accept it and see it doesn’t make someone a “bad person” or “incapable” of living a life and working!

    3 years ago
  26. I’ve come to the conclusion that SK is just a bit behind North America in social issues, which is perfectly fine. 20 years ago there was still the stigma on mental health and to be honest, there still is in some places and professions. For example the US military still put trips to the therapist and mental health drugs in service records, where they were considered as factors for advancement, as recently as 8 years ago. It just takes time and a push from the populace. Just like all other social change, the people coming into adulthood and into social and cultural power will make the changes that need to be made.

    3 years ago
    • “I’ve come to the conclusion that SK is just a bit behind North America in social issues, which is perfectly fine.”

      Agree, but considering how fast they rose to being a developed country I think it’s understandable that social problems are playing catch up.

      3 years ago
      • I agree, they’re coming to what we’re used to in NA much faster and easier than a lot of other places. It important that places keep their own heritage more than they comply with what some of us are used to.

        3 years ago
  27. My first semester in Korea, I told my teacher about how depressed I was feeling and about all the problems I was having here in Korea and what I was dealing with back in Canada. His response? Keep fighting! -__-

    3 years ago
  28. As share input information, in public school in Malaysia, we have our own counseling rooms with professional counselor…also for who worked in government sectors (but pretty much citizen doesn’t know the benefit of it). But, mostly Malaysians (usually Muslims) used religions teachers’ room to share their problems. So, this religions room tries to help people to solve their
    problems like counselors.

    3 years ago
  29. *shocked* that poor girl!! wow…. really can’t understand how people can be so cruel!!

    this was a very interesting tl:dr!!!

    3 years ago
  30. You do have this show called Hello Counselor. But it’s not really counseling. They talk to the person for a bit but in the end mostly nothing is helped/solved. It’s just looking which person has the biggest problem. People can vote and the one with the biggest problem gets 1000bucks at the end. I don’t think that’s what counseling is supposed to be:S

    3 years ago
    • The point of the show is not counseling though. The concept of the show came from radio shows where people send in letters with their daily lives (and a song they want to listen to) and DJs talk about it and give a little bit of advice/cheer and stuff at the end of each “story.” The producers of the show just brought this format to the television.

      3 years ago
    • but that’s just a show, people go there to expose their problems, they aren’t looking for an actual counselor (I repeat, it’s a freaking tv show)

      3 years ago
      • have you watched the episode? They mention that they’ve heard about shows which are about counseling and they thought that it would make counseling more evident. but they dont.

        3 years ago
    • Well the show itself isn’t even counseling. It really is just a program where ordinary people come to share their problems and the audience votes which seems to be the biggest issue. Most of the time, the problems are related to communication issues and the program helps give the guest an opportunity to clear it up.

      3 years ago
    • Yeah, it’s a really odd show. At first, I was surprised seeing Koreans talk about intimate details of their lives and then when I saw the questionable solutions. What I didn’t like was seeing serious issues being brought up and everyone’s contemplative for 5 minutes and lecturing e/o about how they should change, but I got this sense it was just for show and they didn’t really care after the cameras are off.

      3 years ago
    • In my totally NOT professional opinion, you are pointing out the biggest issue in SK wrt mental health: many don’t even recognize that it is a serious problem. It seems there’s less stigma about seeing mental health professionals in SK, but it’s not because they are more enlightened. It’s because they think it’s a fodder for morning time shows, or even butt of a joke.

      3 years ago
    • There was a good episode I thought (ep.113). About the mother and daughter who were born with blue eyes got to talk about the struggles they went through and hopefully made people change the way they thought about them. I got sad for the little girl because the mom said kids were calling her a monster :(

      3 years ago
      • That reminds me of Gu Family Book where the PD just decided to go with a simple eye colour change and NO MAKEUP whatsoever to portray the hero’s change into the Gumiho. So different from how the show started. I know it’s because of the dreadful live shooting system, but couldn’t they take at least a makeup break!?

        3 years ago
      • Yeah I’ve seen that one too! I was so touched! same goes for the korean guy born with blonde hair. His story made me really sad… No one wanted to hire him because he had blonde hair…

        3 years ago
        • I saw that too! The one where SJ and EXO were guests. That was a good story :) It’s sucks that no one hired him, even though a lot of idols dye their hair blonde… Even some non idols dye their hair blonde. It reminded me of B1A4 Hello Baby where the little girl that was their “baby” was scared of Baro and did not like him because he had blonde hair that time.

          3 years ago
      • omg i watched it!!!!!!

        3 years ago
    • That show…I think their intention is good, but they don’t actually solve the problem. I don’t think judging whether or not the situation is an issue is a good solution. I don’t think anyone’s problems should be put to test by voting from the public.

      3 years ago
      • their intention is NOT good. a show where people show their vulnerable side, idols talking to them, voting for the winner and guests winning money at the end…their intentions are definitely not good.

        3 years ago
        • Wasn’t the person Hoya helped (revealing his own past problem in the process) mad because Hoya helped his speech impediment and he never won? He just wanted the money :/

          3 years ago
    • I’ve watched a few episodes, and I think that they do give some of them a real solution. It’s just up to the people to actually take it to heart and implement it. I was horrified to see some severely overweight children being openly laughed at and made fun of though – maybe it’s a cultural thing? They did talk to them seriously about their possible health problems later on, but still…. that just destroys their self-esteem.

      3 years ago
      • Yeah, there’s this Korean show I found on Youtube called Ulzzang Transformation. While the girls are giving the person a makeover, it seems that they’re making fun of them, but looks are something very valued in Korea. It’s not that they’re trying to be rude; it’s just that they’re trying to help. Looks in North America are valued, but it’s not to the same degree. Like we don’t talk about looks whenever we see our friends. So, yes, it is a cultural thing.

        3 years ago
      • Yeah sometimes they do give them an actual solution. But I’ve seen bad cases which really needed help, just being laughed at :S And I’ve heard too many times when a girl isn’t “pretty” enough and bashed on by her parents that they give PS as the solution ><

        3 years ago
  31. Definitely serious business.
    The story of the “not touching” person. I have guitar lessons with a guy who has the same thing. It took like a year for him to get used to the constant touching (repositioning fingers etc.)
    So I do hope, as someone who knows a bit of autism & mental stuff, that there is a change. Oh and the Medical Record stuff… what the actual f?

    3 years ago
  32. What’s poverty like in South Korea? Is homelessness a big problem in the cities, since the key money is so expensive? Is it possible to get by or support a family on minimum wage? Is there the infrastructure in place to help people, either from charities or government? How ostracized are the poor from the rest of society? Did you ever have any students whose families were in poverty?

    3 years ago
    • In SK, homeless people are sheltered by non-governmental charity organizations, mostly funded by private donations. These shelters are usually located outside of city, so it’s hard for the residents to make “impromptu trips”(=escape) to cities. So you don’t see as many homeless people in SK than NYC, LA or SF. Often these shelters have little farms and work shops attached. It seemed clean and have bright atmosphere. But no system is perfect.

      Cheap monthly rent without huge key money can be found in Seoul. Especially if one is willing to compromise quality, comport and/or fashionableness. Runaway kids(one more aspect of poverty) sometimes make a “family” of their own renting a basement apartment, cramming more than 10 kids to a room. Sometimes you can meet bunch of teenagers near in front of a convenience store, asking patrons to buy alcohol or cigarettes for them.

      There’s practically no governmental social security in SK. Success of their kids are: hence all the pressure to study to become government employee(only people in SK with reasonable pension plan), doctors or lawyers. If you become poor in your middle age, it’s almost impossible to recover. (Suicide rate is highest among middle aged college educated men in their 40s, who became poor recently, for this very reason.)

      I don’t think poors are too terribly ostracized, what with sense of community still alive, especially in small mid sized cities. Maybe partially because of that governmental social welfare is far behind compared other developed countries. Anyway with so many people going up economic ladder, it sucks to be poor. When I was attending middle school in SK, there were not many kids from poor family. When family fortune changed, they moved to another school due to shame. I guess that’s a way to achieve “social harmony”.

      3 years ago
  33. Talking about this subject reminds me of the drama good doctor, it’s a really good drama the main character has autism and is working at a hospital ahhh it hard to watch some parts cause they just don’t completely understand him

    3 years ago
  34. As far as employers looking into their potential employees health history I think that’s bs. In my opinion that’s nobody else’s business and should be between them and their doctor. They should be more open and welcoming to people receiving help. Probably a lot of people don’t get the help that they could desperately need in fear the it will cause them not to get a job.

    3 years ago
  35. any thoughts on the new korean drama airing Good Doctor – with a leading character with autism? That’s definitely a push in recognizing mental illness, even if it’s in pop culture. Not sure how accurate the show is but love to hear people’s thoughts.

    3 years ago
    • I don’t think autism is a mental illness. People with autism are born with a brain that functions differently, while mental illness develops gradually and may disappear with good treatment. One can never stop being autistic.

      3 years ago
      • I’m sorry if I wasn’t able to express myself clearly, I’m not a native English speaker. I meant that mental illness is more episodic. Since I have clinical depression I speak from experience. I have prolonged episodes of being extremely depressed. However, those episodes are not permanent and after they end I can function normally and almost like I don’t even have depression. Sure, one cannot ever be completely cured of a very serious depression or schizophrenia, and it may seem you’re
        okay for a while, but it eventually returns. Now autism, you can somewhat prevent symptoms of depression, but you can never stop being autistic.And one is born autistic.While some people with genetic potential for mental illness never really develop it. But, I’m no expert. So If I’m wrong I apologize.
        (Again sorry if my English sucks)

        3 years ago
      • Actually, people with autism are considered to fall under a different category than mental illness. Tests show that the brains of people with autism have different neurological connections than those of people without. It is akin to having a different set of mental ‘limbs.’to work with. As high functioning autistic people, such as Temple Grandin, have explained to us, the brain of someone with autism literally interprets data of their senses in a different way than ours. They think in pictures instead of words/sounds.

        3 years ago
        • Actually studies have shown that people suffering from anxiety disorders have functional and structural changes in their amygdalas, and there is a lot of evidence to suggest that illnesses like depression and schizophrenia have genetic causes. I also know that studies have shown that children exposed to trauma while their brains are developing can carry those physical brain changes with them throughout their lives. All mental disorders have a biological basis, even if they are brought on by external events, because the brain is an organ just like any other and can have problems, and all people with conditions affecting the brain have to cope differently than those who do not.

          I only mention this because it’s very important to me that mental illness is not stigmatized or portrayed to be a “lesser” medical condition than any other.

          3 years ago
    • In Happy Together the cast of Good Doctor; more specifically Joo Won talked about how his mother and himself did in depth research on behavior and interaction with others as a savant autistic. He also met a savant and hunv out with that person to learn more. Joo Won said he learned that the stereotype is wrong and a lot of autistic people are quite average people. I loved that.

      3 years ago
      • The only difference between people without autism and people with, is the social ability. There are also some strange dietary limitations as well, but other than that, they’re normal.

        And also EXTREMELY intelligent.

        My cousin is autistic. He doesn’t communicate too well, but he’s very sweet, and really smart. I watched him play a game of Solitaire on his computer once. He beat it in less than a minute. I would love to hand him my Rubik’s Cube and see how fast he can figure it out.

        3 years ago
  36. That’s a great topic. Where I live (one of many former Soviet republics), mental health problems are still considered taboo or in some cases even nonsense. As in, how can you have depression, what’s wrong with you, you’re just imagining, etc. Case in point – my one relative who is suffering from a severe depression is just being ostracized by her own family… Which is incomprehensible to me.

    3 years ago
    • Wow, that song sounds a lot like Lady Gaga’s Telephone, haha.

      I think the medical model is one way to think about mental illness, and it’s a very good model because it doesn’t blame suffering people for their suffering and tries to gather evidence for which interventions work, what the success rate is, what the drawbacks are…. I think other models can also help, though, too – like religious or spiritual models – as long as there’s empathy and as long as people understand the limitations. But that doesn’t sound like that’s the case in SKorea, either.

      3 years ago
  37. From what i’ve seen from shows like Hello Counsellor people do obviously have many problems and they want addressed, however from some of the small scale problems that i’ve seen on this show like – i’m getting teased at school – could easily be solved by a school counsellor honestly, instead of having to go on a TV show. I think its on its way if i’m honest.

    3 years ago
  38. Second :P

    3 years ago
  39. First!

    3 years ago
    • Actually, I’m not shock with this topic since Korea had high rate suicide. U-Kiss Kiseop was the ones of it who suffers from mental depression, nearly almost committed suicide.

      3 years ago