Some of the most beautiful places in the world often mask some of the most devastating realities. I would be excited to visit South Korea because of Busan's beautiful beaches, the aromatic smell of Korean Barbecue, competitive gaming and high-speed internet, booming Korean pop-stars, and hiking over their beautiful, scenic mountains. One of the world’s best educated and advanced countries cannot mask the devastating truth of how it has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. This phenomenon is caused by all types of societal and cultural pressure.
All across Asia, there lies a stigma that mental health does not really exist. To many people, if you cannot see the epidemic of depression, then it must not be there. One of my college essay prompts asked me where I would go if I had a ticket to go anywhere. This is one of my many responses on how I would tackle the stigma that mental health does not exist... because it does. And it is very much present.
My ticket to go anywhere in the world could possibly be someone else’s ticket to staying in the world. I would grasp the opportunity to take others to a better place in their minds; that would be my ideal paradise.
In order to tackle South Korea’s mental health problem, I must first understand their culture and language. Their idea of mental health is that it is better left in the dark and untreated because once someone is labeled with a mental disorder, he or she is seen as weak or dishonorable. I would aim to target younger generations since they would have greater insight towards changing eras than their older, more traditional parents and peers. I hope to educate younger generations about the importance of this plight so they can identify warning signs and potentially help combat the problem as they grow older.
The more young adults invest in battling the stigma behind mental health, the more widespread the battle cry can become and therefore lead to seeking help. Those who support one another can unify their voices, create a movement, and shine a brighter light on a hidden issue that takes many people's lives. By doing research with the Yonsei University Health System, I could develop my knowledge over general health and treatments all across Korea. Although the process may be controversial in the beginning, an important step is to seek out more effective methods to combat the negative connotation of mental health. Even though it may be ambitious to change an entire country’s mindset and culture, I would help inspire many to aid other countries further fight the stigma.
I chose to target South Korea first because by challenging mental health in a highly developed country, it can more effectively lead other developing nations to similar initiatives over time. Therefore, rather than initially targeting closed off places in the world that currently lack resources like North Korea and smaller areas in the rural world, I can first spark a change in a more developed country that has the tools to aid other regions of the world.
The first step to making that happen would be to encourage people to take my hand and not their own lives.