2019 was a tough year in Kpop and for many fandoms, aside from being the year associated with many controversies, it was also a year that reminded the industry of how important it was to take mental health seriously and the repercussions of not doing so.
Many idols have announced their hiatus in 2019 due to anxiety disorder and the list is only growing, the rise of idols (young and old) taking a hiatus due to anxiety despite the overwhelming sense of responsibility and their hectic schedule shows just how prevalent the issue is in the industry and how their agencies couldn’t ignore it anymore.
Most notably in 2019 was the case of TWICE Mina, who is still on a hiatus due to anxiety disorder, JYP released a statement in August of 2019 explaining that her mental health is above all and that she’ll halt activities until she feels better.
Mina participated in her group’s comeback filming following that but her appearances are numbered, JYP had explained that her future participation, in any event, will be highly dependent on her state and made in discussion with her group and the agency.
The topic became widely discussed due to a variety of reasons one of them being TWICE extremely hectic schedule; they’re considered the nation’s girl group and have been working non-stop since their debut with little rest. Some fans had been noticing how anxious Mina looks on stage before the announcement was made.
Another one that comes to mind was Kang Daniel public cry for help in late 2019; he wrote long posts talking about how he had been struggling with cruel comments and misleading news articles, he spoke in detail about how it had been taking a toll on him, in one of his posts, he scared everyone when he wrote,
“Its so tiring, It is really tiring.
How could it be this hard?
It’s just too difficult
Someone, please save me.”
Later, his agency released a statement explaining that his health was poor and he had a weak immune system as well as psychological anxiety. He halted activities and took a break.
Ever since 2020 began, we had-so far- 3 more cases where idols announced their hiatus due to anxiety. MONSTA X Jooheon recently suspended his activities due to anxiety; Starship Entertainment released a statement on January 12 to announce the news,
“Joohoney recently showed symptoms of anxiety and recently received in-depth examinations and treatment at multiple professional medical institutions for an accurate diagnosis. The results of the examination showed that due to anxiety symptoms, sufficient rest and stability are essential for him to make a full recovery.”
LOONA’s Haseul label recently announced that the idol will be taking a hiatus to focus on her health; she recently went to the hospital to receive treatment for symptoms of anxiety. She was diagnosed with recurring anxiety and will halt activities to focus on her full recovery; her group upcoming comeback will be promoted with 11 members.
Oh My Girl’s Jiho has also been receiving treatment for frequent deterioration of her health and symptoms of anxiety since the second half of 2019, her label revealed that her condition has worsened and they had decided to halt her activities to prioritize her health, she’s also taking a temporary break.
Note that we’re only 18 days into 2020 and we already have 3 idols announcing such unfortunate news.
Of course, this is not the full list and we’re merely scratching the surface but it’s something that’s deeply worrying me and, I bet, many Kpop fans. Of course, there is no way we could get into each idol’s mind and explain why they’re diagnosed with anxiety but having any mental health issue and working in the Kpop industry must be extremely difficult. The demanding nature of the industry leaves little room for self-care, young or established idols struggle with their own set of issues that relate to how demanding and cruel the industry can be, albeit at different levels.
I wish those idols nothing but the best, I hope they rest well, all of us want them to prioritize their health above all else.