After hearing the news of Korean actress Kang Doo Ri, I really felt this post needed to be made. This is not an easy topic nor is it one that should be taken lightly.
Originally it was reported that Kang Doo Ri had been killed in a car accident, however, after further investigation it was determined that it was indeed a suicide.
The Incheon Samsan Police Station revealed that the actress had been found dead in Bupyeong-dong, Incheon on December 14 around 4 p.m. KST. After investigating the cause of her death, they found out that before Kang Doo Ri was found she had sent a message to a friend suggesting that she was going to take her life.
Reports concluded that there were no signs of a break-in or foul play. Police found coal briquettes as part of evidence that she ended her own life.
Often times, people may think that we know why a person would take their own life. And sometimes they do say exactly why they would resort to such a permanent solution, but in the case of Kang Doo Ri, we may never truly know.
On December 11, three days before she passed away, she wrote, “I’m having a hard time these days because I’m experiencing a lot of bad personal problems. It was getting better after finishing the drama and doing broadcasts. But the situation became bad and didn’t go as planned so I couldn’t do anything. I’m really sorry and I apologize. However, I am thinking of getting ready to return to everyone after becoming calm. So I’m trying to stand up once again. See you next week.”
My heart breaks for her family and I send my deepest condolences to them as they grieve.
I think the part that truly makes any news of suicide painful is that, at some point, we think there may have been signs we missed. Or maybe we think it was something that was said that we didn’t pay attention to. Something so subtle. And then we blame ourselves. We feel the weight and the guilt and wonder, what could we have done?
According to the BBC News, South Korea has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world. Most workers report that it’s stress that drives the feelings of deep depression leading to suicide, among numerous other reasons. However, in an effort to help employees cope with life, Korean companies have taken the lead in trying to help employees appreciate life.
But what is this and why would it help?
This is called the “macabre ritual” and it is designed to be a bonding experience. Its purpose is to teach each person to not only value their own life but also the lives of others. Before getting into the casket, they see videos of people facing different adversities from illnesses to loss of limbs. They watch these videos and see the people as the overcome these different struggles in their lives and then they themselves are placed in a casket to reflect for 10 minutes.
So how has this helped?
“After the coffin experience, I realised I should try to live a new style of life,” says Cho Yong-tae as he emerges from the casket. “I’ve realised I’ve made lots of mistakes. I hope to be more passionate in all the work I do and spend more time with my family.”
But this is not the only ritual that employees will participate in.
“…[President Park Chun-woong] also insists that his staff engage in another ritual every morning when they get to work – they must do stretching exercises together culminating in loud, joint outbursts of forced laughter.
“At first, laughing together felt really awkward and I wondered what good it could do,” says one woman. “But once you start laughing, you can’t help but look at the faces of your colleagues around you and you end up laughing together… I think it really does have a positive influence. There’s so little to laugh about in a normal office atmosphere, I think this kind of laughter helps.”
It truly is heartwarming to see that they are in fact trying to find ways to help others where they see there’s a need. Taking a personal interest in people has shown to have the most positive effects in ways we may never know or fully understand.
And though we may not be able to recognize the signs of someone on the verge of suicide or even know what to say if we ever get that message from a loved one or a friend, there is help out there.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please visit https://www.afsp.org/.