Life Goes On, Let’s Live On: Impact of BTS on Youth Mental Health
Oleh: Bella Albesta
“Life goes on, let’s live on.” a very powerful message highlighted by the biggest boyband, BTS, during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Introduced by the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, BTS delivers a heartfelt speech about the impact of this pandemic specifically to the young and future generations (Haasch, 2020). The seven members of BTS, RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook share their own struggles and feelings during COVID-19 and wrapped it off with a message of hope for not only the young generation, but also all individuals around the world.
Looking back to the cancelled world tour, “COVID-19 was beyond my imagination,” RM, leader of the group started their speech. “Our world tour was totally canceled. All of our plans went away, and I became alone. I looked up but couldn’t see the stars at night.” The development of the young generations’ life is undoubtedly hit hard during this pandemic. Specially in the field of education and employment, to their financial and economical capability. Being at home, doing everything through small screens of laptop and phone has successfully decreased the productivity of our daily routine. Jimin shared his concern towards the famous lockdown,” I felt hopeless. Everything fell apart. I could only look outside my window; I could only go to my room. Yesterday, I was singing and dancing with fans around the world, and now my world had shrunk to a room.” What an irony that we can finally be able to relate our situation with the Billboard Hot 100 #1 Artist.
It is fair to say that this outbreak has taken a toll to the growth of the youth. The International Labour Organization (ILO) analyzed that since the outbreak, more than 70% of youngsters that study or combining work and study have been badly affected by the closing of schools, universities and workplaces (“COVID-19 disrupts education of more than 70 per cent of youth,” 2020). In addition to that, despite the endless attempts to give the same progress, it is reported that 65% of the young generation learned less due to the transition from a proper classroom to an online lecture during the social distancing and lockdown policies. South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kang Kyung Hwa praised BTS early in the session, saying, “The ability of BTS to inspire the younger generation and some elderly people around the world is absolutely remarkable.” (“Economic Effect of BTS’ Conquest of Billboard Hot 100 Chart,” 2020). She also added how important it is to balance the hopes they lift among the young with concerted government action.
For young people living in low-income countries, who have fewer access to the internet, lack of equipment and often lack of room at home, the situation has become much worse. ILO Director General, Gyu Ryder, mentioned how the pandemic inflicts numerous shocks on young people. Not only does it kill their employment and career opportunities, but it also disrupts their schooling and training leading up to a major effect on their mental well-being. In simple terms, it will be harder for fresh graduates in exploring job opportunities as it was predicted that the recession would create more hurdles in the labor market and prolong the transition from school to work. Having dreams and expectations in life is normal, but not in this new normal. With all the pressure from our surroundings, a non-stop question of when will you graduate, what is your next goal, or the famous when are you getting married have affected the mental condition of more than 50% young people. Referring to the previous album series of Love Yourself, BTS eldest’s, Jin, summed up the group speech in inspiring online audiences to value their own happiness and mental health, “Thinking about the future and trying hard are all important,” he continues, “But cherishing yourself, encouraging yourself, and keeping yourself happy is the most important. In a world of uncertainty, we must cherish the importance of ‘me,’ ‘you,’ and ‘us.’”
During the seven minutes speech of hope, light, and dream, the international kpop sensation sunshine rainbow traditional transfer usb hub shrimp BTS mobilize their platform to fight the battle together. Keeping ARMY in his heart, SUGA says,” The room itself was small, but my world and our world reached far and wide. In this world we had our instruments, our phones, and our fans.” Even in this pandemic, they worked hard and put those instruments into work, creating the most anticipated album planned for later this year. “We embraced all of these emotions and the seven of us began to make music together,” j-hope said. “This is where the music came from, and this made us honest.” As expected from true artists, BTS have always used their music as a medium to give power and encouragement to their ARMY. The youngest member, Jungkook, demonstrated the weight of that obligation by saying, “If there’s anything I can do, if our voices can give people power, then that’s what we want and that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”
In order to convey their concerns and ideas, giving young people a voice in decision-making boosts the efficacy of initiatives and programs and allows young people the ability to engage in their implementation. Using this condition as an opportunity rather than to cry and rant about life not being as what has been planned, although it felt lonelier and smaller, V sticks to a high-quality life motto of “If I give up here, then I’m not the star of my life. This is what an awesome person would do.” Giving out hope and inspiration to the society to bring the best out of everything because it is always the darkest before the brightest dawn (“Youth and COVID-19,” 2020). Youth are expected to be prepared for the best, even after all the struggles. Be happy, and as the biggest voice, the outcome from this crisis is the re-integration of the market. Starting from psychosocial assistance to recreational events, those who have lost their jobs or have undergone a decrease in working hours, providing access for young people to unemployment insurance benefits and interventions to improve their mental health.
COVID-19 disrupts education of more than 70 per cent of youth [WWW Document], 2020. URL http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_753060/lang--en/index.htm (accessed 10.2.20).
Economic Effect of BTS’ Conquest of Billboard Hot 100 Chart [WWW Document], 2020. . KBS World. URL http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/contents_view.htm?lang=e&board_seq=390930 (accessed 10.2.20).
Haasch, P., 2020. Watch BTS’ 2020 speech at the United Nations General Assembly [WWW Document]. Insider. URL https://www.insider.com/bts-united-nations-general-assembly-love-yourself-video-2020-9 (accessed 10.2.20).
Youth and COVID-19: Response, recovery and resilience [WWW Document], 2020. . OECD. URL https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/youth-and-covid-19-response-recovery-and-resilience-c40e61c6/#section-d1e1472 (accessed 10.2.20).