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Korean Drama Tomorrow and its meaning: Suicide!

One of the most heartwarming, yet saddest Korean dramas I have watched this year is "Tomorrow" (Hangul: 내일).

As it taps into Korea's biggest societal issue: Suicide.


In "Tomorrow", Choi Jun-Woong, played by Ro Woon, struggles with job hunting until a fateful night leads him to encounter the grim reapers Koo Ryeon and Lim Ryung-Gu, portrayed by Kim Hee-Seon and another actor respectively. Part of a unique crisis management team, their mission is to rescue those on the brink of taking their own lives. As events unfold, Jun-Woong finds himself joining this unconventional team, embarking on a journey of redemption, hope, and profound human connections.

Choi Jun-Woong, played by Ro Woon,  Koo Ryeon and Lim Ryung-Gu.
Korean Drama Cast 'Tomorrow'

Many of us acquainted with South Korean culture are aware of the prevalent issue of high suicide rates in the country. This drama poignantly addresses the subject, aiming not only to evoke deep emotions but also to enlighten and broaden its reach beyond the reach of what a documentary could achieve.

Based on this image from a 2021 The Korea Times article, South Korea's suicide mortality rate is, on average, 16% higher than that of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries. (Avrg, 12.11% vs Avrg, 29%)

Korean Times Suicide  Image

It's a common human instinct to try and make sense of the actions of others, especially when they seem incomprehensible to us. Many times, when confronted with the tragic news of someone taking their own life, we hear remarks like, "How could they be so selfish to leave their loved ones in such pain?" or "Why wouldn't they just seek help instead of ending it all?"

But it isn't as simple as that. A lot of times people that have suicidal thoughts, don't even show any signs.

One example is tWitch, who worked for The Ellen Show:

When news broke about Stephen "tWitch" Boss's tragic suicide, the world was left in shock. Known for his infectious energy, brilliant smile, and undeniable talent, he had built a reputation as someone who always emanated positivity. To most, tWitch was the embodiment of joy and success, often lifting the spirits of those around him with his dance and charisma.

Yet, beneath that luminous exterior was a silent battle with high-functioning depression—a condition that doesn't always manifest in ways we might expect. Individuals with high-functioning depression can often maintain their day-to-day lives, excelling in their careers, and maintaining social relationships, all while wrestling with profound inner turmoil. The 'high-functioning' aspect can be deceptive, leading to misconceptions about the depth of their struggle.

tWitch's wife poignantly remarked, "No one saw it coming." It's a chilling reminder that mental health struggles can be hidden behind the most vibrant personalities and successful exteriors. His story underscores the importance of fostering open conversations about mental health, even with those who seem to "have it all together.

Understanding the complexities of mental health and the depth of despair someone might feel is not always straightforward. People experiencing suicidal thoughts often wrestle with intense internal struggles that outsiders might never fully grasp. For instance, a student facing immense academic pressure might hide their suffering behind a facade of cheerfulness, or a parent might bury their feelings to avoid burdening their children.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues can further complicate the matter, leading individuals to suppress their feelings or avoid seeking help out of fear of judgment.

It's essential to recognize that many individuals with suicidal tendencies may not exhibit obvious signs. Instead of jumping to conclusions or making judgments, fostering a culture of understanding, compassion, and open conversation is crucial.

Stay healthy.





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*The OECD, or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, is an international organization founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It provides a platform for its member countries to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify best practices, and collaborate on solutions to complex challenges. The OECD is known for its publications and statistics, offering a wealth of information on a broad array of topics, including the economy, education, health, and more.

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