University of Washington
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Need Help Now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1.800.273.8255
News and Views Forefront Insight Blog Personal & professional perspectives on news and policy related to mental health and suicide prevention

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Jun 29, 2017

“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. It is often seen as a lack of faith in Christ.” My interviewee, Jin-Hee, is a Korean-American mental health professional in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Born to Korean parents, she was raised in a traditional Korean church community. Given that depression is perceived as a sign of personal weakness, according to Jin-Hee, it is not seen as a clinical issue in Korea...

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Jun 21, 2017

Repeated threats, physical or verbal attacks, rumors, and exclusion all fall into the category of bullying. Unfortunately, in recent years, bullying has become prevalent at college campuses, and according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, approximately 20% of all students reported being bullied in 2016.

Bullying is considered a type of psychological, as well as physical harassment that is linked to various mental health challenges, and in more serious cases, even suicide. While the relationship between suicide and bullying is not one of a cause and an effect,...

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Jun 06, 2017

A formal portrait of Sok-ki and his mother. Photo courtesy Chris Juergens.

 
While roasting pork belly and kimchi accompanied by the ubiquitous Korean liquor soju, my friend Sok-Ki’s widowed mother called him to see when he would be home. In the most respectful Korean (Korean has multiple distinct levels of speech, determined by the context and with whom you are speaking), he said “Yes, mom, I won’t be too late. Yes, is there anything you...
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May 16, 2017

Thirty-six-year old Lee Kyoung-ja married 39 year-old Cho Hyuk-jin — both natives of South Korea — in the fall of 2015. They relocated to Vietnam a few months later without a concrete plan for work. On the surface, their decision was shocking. Kyoung-ja, my close friend from my four years living in Korea and the MC at my wedding, was a voice actress. She had consistent, well-paid work, and her new husband was a successful television commercial producer at Samsung.

Both Kyoung-ja and her husband Hyuk-jin were able to fulfill both their parents’ and Korean society's expectations of...

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Apr 27, 2017

Death by diseases of despair in 2015: Suicide, alcohol, and overdose-related deaths among Caucasians (per 100,000). Graphic by Forefront.Middle-aged white people in the United States are bucking a global trend as they face an escalation in deaths from suicide, overdose and alcohol related deaths, according to a study from Anne Case and Angus Deaton of Princeton University.

The issue is considerably worse among less educated people, and Case and Deaton...

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