K-pop stars Eric Nam and Jae-hyung Park recounted their difficult experiences with panic attacks on a podcast.
K-pop singer Eric Nam he was at a meeting in New York when he started having chest pain. “I thought I was going to have to call 911,” he said, recalling his 2019 experience. But he remained seated and had “to come out of the experience breathing discreetly,” he said.
Something similar happened to Jae-hyung Park, better known as Jae from the K-pop band “Day6”. Park was in a taxi returning from filming a music video in Seoul when he felt something like a heart attack.
At first she put it down to stress, saying that for years she had dealt with “weird” and “out of place” feelings. But he realized that he could not ignore the symptoms and asked the driver to take him to a nearby hospital. “I felt like I was going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die,” he recalled.
Park and Nam said that they later found out that they had suffered panic attacks.
Many K-pop stars have had to deal with depression
Many artists in the music industry have trouble coping with the weight of fame. In South Korea, as in many cultures, talking about mental health is often seen as taboo. This has caused K-pop stars to face depression and other mental illnesses on their own.
Nam and Park have teamed up with other artists to raise awareness about mental health, beyond the K-pop community. That is why they have publicly shared their personal stories.
Both share their experiences on MINDSET, a new series of podcasts that seek to promote dialogues on mental health and well-being. “I think it’s still a topic today that I never feel comfortable talking about,” Nam said.
“It’s a world of cutthroat competition,” Park said of K-pop.
Park received advice from his record label, JYP Entertainment, but said he found it difficult to connect with his therapist and eventually took a break from his career last year when his band went on hiatus.
Nam hopes that the show can address stereotypes and stigmas around mental illness.
With information from The Associated Press