The BTS boys are in the spotlight yet again, but this time for something very different than a new song or award. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jimin, and Jungkook opened up about mental health and the spotlight, sharing how they keep these issue in mind when making music. In particular, RM and Suga's quotes about mental health make it clear why BTS' music is so relatable and universally loved. If you didn't love the K-pop stars before, you certainly will now.
The BTS boys were Entertainment Weekly's cover stars for the Friday, March 29 issue of the magazine, and in addition to shooting some rad photos for the issue, the group opened up about their experiences with mental health — particularly, how mental health, music-making, and stardom intersect. Suga told Entertainment Weekly that the group feels that that it was important for people and celebrities who have a platform to use it to talk about mental health. He said, "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." Sharing how being more open about the subject could be helpful, Suga continued:
[I]f 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.
After Suga's answer, RM joined in and explained how the themes of mental health manifest in their music. He said:
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 ... We’re born with different lives, 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.
Suga then closed by saying the fans are "[their] greatest influence." And he shared how their support helps the group, as he explained, "...[W]here 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."
Honestly, RM and Suga's answers totally explain why BTS' music resonates with fans across the world. The message of "love yourself" is even more relatable when you realize that the famous members of the group are also working through the same types of issues, and their willingness to open up about the importance of talking about mental health is just one more reason to love them.
BTS has done more than just talk about problems that affect people worldwide — the group has actually gone to work to tackle some of those problems. They helped launch the "Love Myself" campaign in partnership with UNICEF that aims to end violence toward children and teens. According to the Love Myself website, a portion of the band's album sales and all donations to Love Myself will go toward "numerous social programs" that are aimed at preventing violence against children and teens. In a speech the group delivered at the United Nations' Generation Unlimited last fall, RM said:
After releasing our Love Yourself albums and launching the "Love Myself" campaign, we started to hear remarkable stories from our fans all over the world how our message helped them overcome their hardships in life and start loving themselves. Those stories constantly remind us of our responsibilities.
I really didn't think it could get any better than BTS teaching the world Korean slang, but the K-pop group talking about mental health and connecting with their fans definitely takes the cake. Highlighting the importance of talking about these issues and not shying away from having it help shape their music is just one more reason to say, "Alexa, play BTS."
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.