12 K-Pop Songs That Advocate Mental Health
K-pop artists are put under a lot of pressure as they build their careers and connect with the public. Up until a couple of years ago, discussing mental health openly was considered taboo, but that never stopped idols from addressing it in their music time and time again.
October 10 represents World Mental Health Day and is an opportunity to remind one another about the importance of mental health and its impact on one’s overall well-being. In this light, here is a selection of K-pop songs that advocate mental health.
1. B.A.P – “Wake Me Up”
This masterpiece by B.A.P portrays mental health ever so vividly. While the music video visualizes some of the most common mental health issues such as body image, depression, and anxiety, the lyrics send a powerful message of hope to put these struggles to rest.
2. San E – “Counselor”
San E opens up about his personal struggles with mental health through this raw song where he literally fights himself to finally seek counseling to get better and regain control over his life.
3. Dynamic Duo and EXO’s Chen – “Nosedive”
Dynamic Duo and Chen offer a means of comfort to people battling depression with this song. They express their support and send their heartfelt solace through the healing lyrics.
4. 2NE1 – “Ugly”
There is no standard for beauty, yet many feel entitled to judge others’ physical appearance at the cost of hurting their feelings and affecting their self-esteem. 2NE1 has always been out of the box with their concepts, and “Ugly” is a track that pinpoints insecurities that many can relate to.
5. Sunmi – “Borderline”
Sunmi gets candid in this emotional single where she reveals details about her mental health and underlines the price idols pay for their fame. She also unveils her vulnerability and the pain she went through as she was put under the microscope by the public.
6. SEVENTEEN – “Trauma”
Inspired by their personal struggles, SEVENTEEN’s hip hop unit exposes their vulnerability in this heart-wrenching track. In the lyrics, they open up about their own experiences with loneliness, self-doubt, and pressuring themselves over events from the past.
7. Amber Liu – “Borders”
Another artist who knows all about criticism that pokes holes in one’s self-esteem is Amber. Yet that didn’t stop her from fighting her way out of every hurdle and to remain true to herself despite what others say.
8. Stray Kids – “Mirror”
Reconciliation with oneself is one of the hardest things to achieve and the Stray Kids members have perfectly mirrored what it feels like in their song. Fear, confusion, and doubt often surface and cloud one’s perception of things, which inevitably impacts their well-being.
9. Kim Jonghyun feat. Taeyeon – “Lonely”
This melancholic ballad composed by the late SHINee’s Jonghyun touches on the topics of loneliness and the fear of burdening others with our problems. At the same time, the melody gives a sense of comfort as the core message behind this duet is to be understood.
10. Lee Hi – “Breathe”
Another beautiful song composed by Jonghyun is “Breathe” which he gifted to Lee Hi. Speaking from personal experience, the artist opens up about suffering from a mild panic disorder which made breathing very difficult. She wrote the lyrics in hopes that it would help people who also struggle with breathing.
11. Agust D – “The Last”
Suga has been through a lot in his lifetime, and he chose to speak up about it as Agust D in his first mixtape. One of his songs “The Last” is an open letter that reveals mental health issues he has bravely dealt with such as depression, OCD, and social anxiety.
12. Epik High feat. Sunwoo JungA – “In Seoul”
Dealing with the external world can be exhausting sometimes, and Epik High is aware of it. According to them, anxiety can become so crippling at times that it disturbs your sleep to the point of becoming insomniac.
If you would like to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to seek help and reach out. Click here for a list of international hotlines that you can call, and if you can’t find your country listed, please call your local emergency number.
Which song speaks to you most? Let us know in the comments below.
Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.