SHINee lead singer and K-Pop star Kim Jong-hyun, better known by his stage name Jonghyun, died Monday evening in what police are investigating as a possible suicide. He was 27. “Please let me go. Tell me I did well. Final farewell,” the texts read, according to the Yonhap news agency. This is the second major celebrity suicide on my radar, after Chester Bennington earlier in the year.
How Many More?
I sit in front of my computer and I struggle to put my feelings into words. My posts on Instagram don’t completely highlight what I feel about suicides, mental health and mental illnesses. Every day somebody thinks of taking their life or put their plan into action to take their life. They add to a statistic. This was 429, in Singapore in 2016.
But how many more suicides does it take for us to sit down and realise what we have is a real problem? How many more people suffering in silence does it take for us to care about these people who might be our friends or family? 1? 10? 100? 1000? Seems like 0 should be the right answer, but unfortunately it is not the case.
As news spreads, there is going to be tributes on Twitter, collages on Facebook and covers on Instagram, to celebrate the work this artist has created. But does that do something for the millions of people who are, at this very moment, suffering from a mental health problem? Does that do anything for any person who is looking to take their own life?
We sure are good at doing #Tributes, but when it comes to doing something – reading about mental health, trying to reach out to someone with mental health problems, taking care of our own mental health – we suck. 140 (or 280 now) characters cannot save lives.
Give It One Month
And this will blow over. The #Tributes will be done and over with, and we will move on to ask questions like: “What is going to happen to SHINee?” I think of Chester’s death every time I listen to Linkin Park. He is a normal person on the outside, that decided taking his own life would be a better option than continuing his rockstar career. How much does life have to suck for him to make such a choice?
I know the answer, I’ve been there, I still go there. But we won’t know why one would want to take their own life until the day that we could. How sad.
A Burst of Dust
This is just a burst of dust. A whole lot of nothing. A whole pile of empty promises. Perhaps the next celebrity that takes their own life due to mental health problems will make us take action as a society. But that’s what we always say. Perhaps the next one will.
This cycle will never end. We don’t want it to end. Why would we? Nobody likes dying. Nobody likes death.