For over health and awareness of suicide














the last paragraph of this dissertation I will like to close with my opinion.
Writing on this subject has been enjoyable due to having already foreign
knowledge on it. The main focus was to share light and awareness on a topic
that may not be close to the location it’s written for, but has an effect on
all of us. Even if suicide hasn’t affected us personally it’s globally a
problem in every country and in every school. This could take form emotionally,
mentally or physically, something that we all have in common as people. We all
as young adults have experienced a type of confrontation in a school setting
wherever it was bullying, feeling out casted or feeling anxious. These types of
elements push young people into depression, especially if we the people around
us don’t recognize the signs of struggles. Within my conclusion my thoughts suggest
to raise awareness in schools by pushing the teachers to have more open
communication with its pupils regarding home and academic life. Maybe even
lessons focusing on this raw subject itself, even though it’s a hard topic to
swallow, it needs to be talked about as a free topic and not shamed for what
shame it may bring. In regards to the South Korean issue, the communication
between mental illness and the modern society is not recognized yet so there’s
no bond to fix it, only further growth in schools and developing culture can
maybe one day modify its control over health and awareness of suicide

was built to influence sexuality freely in a country were sex and emotions
don’t get talked about. “The average age of marriage in Korea is 31” (Olson.D, 2014) research shows that
teens don’t feel comfortable to be with their partners in their parent’s homes
and seek other arrangements elsewhere, such as motels. Motels are a huge parts
of teens life’s to get away from their suppressed families under one roof for premarital
sex. This suggest that society sees sexuality as wrong or not quite caught up
with their modern culture just yet. A quick topic I want to put some spotlight
on is the plastic surgery industry. “Korea is the capital of cosmetic
procedures, over taking United States and many others, there’s over 500
aesthetic centers alone in Korea” (TouchUp, 2017). This is the nation
that has to send professional photos attached to their CV’s when applying for a
job. It is believed the better looking you are, the higher advantage you will
have in getting a job. It’s a collective society where one opinion fits all,
and appearance is one of them. The pressure to fit in to society and compete
with their appearances is high. Modern day Korea is an image-conscious and competitive
nation. Children as young as high-school aged would receive plastic surgery as
graduation gifts from their parents. This could almost be seen as a ritual,
before they head out into the real world to face its challenges.The
most common surgeries are the western trends such as double eyelid surgery,
heart shaped face, breasts enhancements and body countering.

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last concept I will be exploring is Korea’s taboos of love and sexual
suppression. “As the birthrates are declining and couples are getting married
later on or not even at all, the county predicts its extinction in 2750” (Vice, The South Korean Love Industry, 2015). In the 1960’s the
birth rates were so high the government cured the population growth with
propaganda and sterilization program (Such as Japan and its one child policy). “The
process worked too well and Korea saw an average growth of children per family
drop from (6.6 to 1.2 %) and now with the lowest birth rate in the world” (Vice, The South Korean Love Industry, 2015). Therefore I want to
bring another example of a Korean attraction that’s a bit more positive, Jeju
Island knows as the Hawaii of Korea. Since the 1950’s it’s been a hot spot for
the newlyweds. Known as (Love Land) was built to break cultural taboos about
sex. It’s an amusement park of gardens filled with interactive Statius and
pieces of art reflecting sexual humor, its pornography in sculpture form.

on another key topic of mental illness in Korea,
there is no such thing as mental health. One is seen as ‘weak’ if they have a
mental health issue. People with mental health issues are seen as ‘crazy’ and
the issue is something
that must be overcome. Such as depression being seen as a physical illness but
also perceived as a sign of personal weakness. It is not seen as a clinical
issue in Korea. It is, rather, seen as a burden on a family’s reputation. This
high suicide rate has been attributed to pressures relating to conformity for those in the 20s
and 30s, to loneliness, cultural dislocation, and lack of social connection for the
elderly. Even so, there remains an aversion to accepting mental health
treatment. The barriers to treatment derive from cultural factors like low
trust of strangers, the way that an individual’s reputation reflects on one’s
family, and lack of awareness and recognition of alcoholism and depression as
legitimate medical problems. As Korea is a collective
society as it doesn’t branch out in to new opinions of health, it is known that
when working in a heavy environment, workers don’t tell their bosses about
their health as it may make them look weak and not committed/reliable to the
company they work for.

Focusing on the elderly side of this topic,
it’s crucial to understand that the pension scheme didn’t come in until the
1990’s which means that over half of the populations elderly, live below the
poverty line. This was due to fast growing of the economy that hasn’t caught up
with its time.
This results in them committing suicide not to be a financial burden on their
families, since the old social structure where children looked after their
parents quickly dissolved due to modern day culture. As a result, people living
in rural areas tend to have higher suicide rates. “In today’s world seniors are
committing up to 3 times more suicides then younger people” (Shin, 2013). Back in the day
having big families under one roof was seen as noble and admirable but today
family trends are shifting to having smaller nuclear families. The children are
leaving home early in their life’s to move in with their partners and leaving
their parents behind, the elderly don’t want to burden financially their  children as they parents should be the main
providers for their younger generation in today’s society which made a complete
flip to what it was once in Korea. However the government are not making any
shifts to solve this, equaling half of the elderly population to live off
charities and haven’t got any proper health or financial care from their
families due to money costs that leads the elderly lonely and sick.

Looking at a similar attraction for suicide, I’m
branching out my interest to Japan’s suicide forest. It’s widely known across
the world as the place to take your life, just like ‘The Bridge of life’. Also
known as ‘The Sea of Trees’ has recorded over 100 suicides a year taken place
in the forest. The forest (Aokigahara)
is located on the northwestern flank of Japan’s Mount
Fuji. The Japanese suicide reasons are the same purposes
such as Koreas, fast growing economy, no stable pensions for the elderly, and
no mental health support. It is known that the people who enter the forest
bring a long rope that they attach to the trees, so if they change their minds
they can find their way back. Also camping out with their tents to think over
their choice and leave notes, letters and their belongings after they passed
for others to find. The most common use of suicide in Korea/ Japan is hanging
them self’s.

The bridge is known as the ‘Bridge of Life’. “The
bridge holds 12 life line booths and 75% of those who talk to hotlines do
change their mind” (Vice, 2016). This could be
influenced by the competitive society with collective selfishness in the modern
world. The society sees individuals as the ones who fall behind as useless or
not giving back enough to the community, therefore this damages the person’s
ego and emotions that leads to depression. From watching the documentaries
surrounding this subject, the rescue team mention that before jumping, people
tend to talk about their problems to those who try to save them, by listening
and comforting the individual, they are more likely not to jump. However, a man
is just as likely to jump as a woman, there’s no sufficient research to support
that what gender is more likely to commit this act as it’s flexible to both.

Moving along I will like to discuss one of Seoul’s
biggest attractions, The Han River and The Mapo Bridge. The river has its own
river rescue team that are active 24/7, keeping an eye out through CCTV’s to
see who potentially needs help or saving. The team follows (The Golden Time)
rule, which is to get to the location and save the person in the water in 4 minutes.
On the bridge there’s hotlines and emergency alarms. There is also statues,
images of families, foods, cartoons and more, reminding that there’s more in
life to focus on making it harder for the person to continue walking to the
middle. Also has light up in the dark, engraved writing on the bridge questions
like, (Have you eaten yet? How are you doing?). To comfort the person and know
that there’s someone watching and wondering about them to change their mind set.

Furthermore, I will like to discuss a new
topic of education and work systems. Education in South Korea is extremely competitive, making it difficult to get into an esteemed university.
The average South Korean high school student also spends roughly 16 hours a day
on school and school-related activities. They attend after school programs
called hagwons and “there are over 100,000 of them throughout South
Korea, making them a 20 billion dollar industry” (Lee, 2010). Again, this is
because of the competitiveness of acceptance into a good university. Most South
Korean test scores are also graded on a curve, leading to more competition.
Although South Korean education consistently ranks near the top in
international academic assessments, the enormous stress and pressure on its
students is considered by many to constitute abuse. Also it has been blamed for
high suicide rates in South Korea among those aged 10–19. The overbearing
stress of over-achieving and having school as their full time homes, effects
young individual’s growth and childhood. The same situation applies for adults
as well, after gaining a job that’s most commonly known as the company job.
Most individuals remain in that job for their whole careers as its competitive
in jobs sectors as it is.

If we flip
this situation to the western examples; such as Marilyn Monroe who had a
celebrity status, but also had a long term marital problems and substance abuse
or Kurt Cobain who was more patriated in the media as a drug addict that
suffers from depression. There’s a relation between an action and media that
combined could influence a new moment in the celebrity world but not so much in
the western society. Another example of suicide/death I want to put a spot
light on is on Korean girl band ‘Ladies
Code’. On September 3rd 2014 the girl group was driving back in
the middle of the night back to Seoul as the manager was the driver, due to
high speeding the van has crashed and killed 2 of 5 members and others severely
injured. This caused a storm on the media as the manager was speeding 84 MP/H
and was arrested for suspicion of murder. 
However the well-known conspiracy theory I want to focus is their last
music video ‘Kiss Kiss’ that has
strong symbols of death and that the fact that it was released before that
accident, fired up a media outbursts of question, Was this planed? Or simply a coincident?
Since then a celebrity deaths poll stands on its “growth of 0.26% for every
100,000 people committing their own suicide”. (Park, 2014).