Just before Jonghyun’s posthumous album was released on Monday January 22nd, we learned that another Korean celebrity lost his battle with depression. Actor Jeon Tae Soo passed away on Sunday, January 21st. Although a formal cause of death has yet to be released, it was announced that Mr. Jeon suffered from depression over an extended period of time. Although he appeared to be making strides to return to acting, he was not able to withstand his inner pain any longer. Jeon Tae Soo’s death is yet another stark reminder of how devastating depression can be, especially for those in the limelight.
In the midst of this heartbreaking tragedy, the South Korean government acknowledged that suicide is one of the biggest causes of death of young people in the country. The government believes that more that 90% of the people that committed suicide showed signs that they would take their own life. They’ve taken a stance to guard against the growing rate of self-inflicted deaths by first evaluating data on the 70,000 victims of suicide in the past five years, then by extending current depression examinations from a selected group of persons over the age of 40 to all people age 40-79. The examination will be accessible this year during the mandatory health checks.
Depression is real. The pain is real. We must help those who are suffering to win this battle. Our hearts are again heavy after the loss of Jeon Tae Soo. Our condolences go out to his loved ones and friends. Jeon Tae Soo was best known for his role in the historical comedy Sungkyunkwan Scandal where he starred alongside Song Joong Ki and Yoo Ah In. His more recent work includes It’s OK, Daddy’s Girl (2010) and Cruel Palace – War of Flowers (2013). He was also the younger brother of actress Ha Ji Won.
As celebrities, Jonghyun and Jeon Tae Soo’s lives were on constant display. It must have been very difficult to battle this often unseen illness while under such heavy scrutiny. We do not know the cause of Jeon Tae Soo’s depression as of yet. We only know that he was fighting it and it appears to have played a part in his untimely passing. As we mourn the loss of yet another beloved public figure to a treatable illness, we grasp desperately for the last piece of the late Jonghyun in hopes that we might retain a piece of him in our hearts, but more so because this album may help someone else win their battle. A portion of the revenue earned from the sale of Poet|Artist, Jonghyun’s last album, will go towards establishing an organization that will help people living in a difficult situation. We, as fans, hope our small contribution can help save someone in the future.
If you are struggling with sadness, depression or thoughts of suicide, please talk to family or friends or call a local suicide prevention lifeline.