8:13 pm - 03/29/2019

BTS' RM and Suga talk mental health, depression, and connecting with fans

Pop stardom may be a dream job, but the artists who make it still struggle with many of the same realities their fans do.

This week’s EW cover stars BTS have made a point of bringing the feelings nearly everyone experiences at some point in their lives — sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem — into the light, both in their song lyrics and in the missions they support, like their Love Myself campaign (which they presented at a United Nations youth summit last September) and #ENDviolence partnership with UNICEF.

During a recent interview at the Seoul headquarters of their record label Big Hit Entertainment, the band sat down with EW to cover a whole range of topics (their experience at the Grammys, their secret hobbies, why they love John Cena). But they got serious, too, on the topic of mental health.

Asked whether they found it harder or easier as celebrities to put their private pain out there in songs and on social media, Suga was adamant: “We feel that people who have the platform to talk about those things really should talk more, because they say depression is something where you go to the hospital and you’re diagnosed, but you can’t really know until the doctor talks to you.

“So I think for not just us but other celebrities,” he goes on, “if they talk about it openly — if they talk about depression for example like it’s the common cold, then it becomes more and more accepted if it’s a common disorder like the cold. More and more, I think artists or celebrities who have a voice should talk about these problems and bring it up to the surface.

RM elaborates: “That’s why we have the concept Love Yourself. We don’t want to preach ‘Do this or don’t do that,’ because that’s not the way that we want to spread our message. Like for example, say, Anna from New York or Marc from Rio or me or you, we have different looks, different races, different parents and backgrounds, different weather, whatever. Everything’s different.”

“We’re born with different lives,” he continues, “but you cannot choose some things. So we thought that love, the real meaning of it, starts with loving ourselves and accepting some ironies and some destinies that we have from the very start. But we never chose that, so instead of preaching or [giving] orders, that’s why we committed to loving yourself and that’s why I started with ‘I’m just an ordinary boy from city near Seoul in South Korea’ at our U.N. speech.”

For the band, the music is the message, too — and it goes both ways: “Our greatest influence,” says Suga, “and where we draw our strength and our comfort and our joy is the fans, So we always have that in mind when we make our music, and I think our fans are also able to get that same strength or joy.”

source: Entertainment Weekly

discard the previous post pls. can't believe i forgot the source...
scionofawhisper 29th-Mar-2019 09:35 pm (UTC)
I love how seriously and responsibly they take their role as celebrities. Whether celebrities want it or not, they will become role models for people, especially kids who are impressionable and finding their identity, so it's pretty great when they try to be good and sincere, and want to actually be pro-active and positive with their message(s). They don't just care about making themselves look good and cool, but actually make themselves vulnerable in ways that might seem 'uncool' to help others.

It's especially great that they are talking about mental health in Korea which from everything else you hear, sounds like an extremely hard place to talk about it.

I'm just a casual fan of BTS, (I mostly enjoy living vicariously through the joy of their fans, lol) but I always feel pretty happy checking what they are up to.

lizanka23 29th-Mar-2019 10:01 pm (UTC)
it's interesting how they have different interviewing styles, suga is direct while rm is diplomatic and tows the line. i prefer suga's direct style. it's so important to name depression as an actual illness and have people get treated for it even though hearing music with positive messages helps as well as knowing that your life doesn't have to be one certain way to match other peoples' lives

Edited at 2019-03-29 10:03 pm (UTC)
radowan 30th-Mar-2019 07:19 am (UTC)
I agree, I also prefer suga's direct style more.
lyzame 29th-Mar-2019 11:07 pm (UTC)
"if they talk about depression for example like it’s the common cold, then it becomes more and more accepted if it’s a common disorder like the cold"

This is so so true! And I really feel for Suga bc he suffered (idk if he still is) from depression and knows what he's talking about. It's a good thing that he's encouraging people to talk about it and I'm also happy that RM admitted with no shame whatsoever that he's seeing a therapist.

Taking care of our mental health is the most important thing.
revedesnuages 30th-Mar-2019 12:17 am (UTC)
I appreciate how candid Suga and RM always are about their mental health struggles. I do hope Korea (and all other countries in the world) progress to a point where talking about and seeking help for mental health issues is normalized.

At times the execution of the love yourself message can seem vague and consequently insincere, but I understand RM's perspective here that he doesn't want to impose a "how to" because everyone has a different background and different things work for different people. And reading other fans' comments, it seems that sometimes even the reminder to work on loving yourself and seek help means a lot to people.

Edited at 2019-03-30 12:27 am (UTC)
garnetstar38 30th-Mar-2019 12:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for putting this into words. That seems to be a major criticism from some fans and many non fans of the LY series. I think this is one of the first times RM has been able to articulate these thoughts in a major publication. He has said similar things in VLives and Fan Cafe posts that aren’t as widely circulated. I’m sad if this is only available on the web and not in print. Suga and RMs word should be shared
daynr 30th-Mar-2019 02:19 am (UTC)
Really good of them to discuss it openly, and I like the common cold analogy.

(I would like to know how exactly fans are influencing them, though. I'm sideeyeing that a bit, though not necessarily strength/comfort/joy.)
rainstormraider 30th-Mar-2019 02:36 am (UTC)
I appreciate how blunt Suga is in all these interviews. It’s refreshing.
jaelissi 30th-Mar-2019 03:55 am (UTC)
I think it's good and I definitely agree with their message of being open about mental health. At the same time, I notice that few korean celebrities who open up about mental health get the kind of positive reception as BTS. Like it may be fine to talk about it in theory like this, but when a celeb opens up about it affecting their lives in any real way, they're seldom met with empathy or understanding.
revedesnuages 30th-Mar-2019 04:24 am (UTC)
This is a good point. I think opening up is only one step, the next step would be is to increase knowledge of mental health disorders and culture of understanding and empathy. A lot of people are ill-equipped to help people with mental health issues because they don’t understand and there’s no social scripts on how to react in a beneficial way, so a lot of people react negatively. I think more people should learn mental health first aid in the way that people learn first aid for physical injuries.
lydzi 30th-Mar-2019 07:09 am (UTC)
This is such a nice and great interview. They really are good persons and that's the highest compliment you can ever do about someone.
paoktsou 30th-Mar-2019 08:31 am (UTC)
I love these open minded answers
People should not be afraid to talk and accept the mental illnesses (the cold/flu example was pretty good)

Hope we will have more interviews like this from other idols too (if they're not afraid)
aeipathy 1st-Apr-2019 03:27 am (UTC)
ugh this is part of the reason why yoongi is my forever favorite, i love how direct and outspoken he is.
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