I started re-watching the Korean Drama It's Ok, That's Love (괜찮아, 사랑이야) this week, and in my opinion it is something that anybody should watch. What is revolutionary about this drama is the spotlight it puts on mental health issues, including really bringing to light the stigma against mental health patients. The male lead (Jang Jae yeol) suffers from both schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder and the female (Ji Hae soo) lead suffers from anxiety issues. Many cases of other disorders are also portrayed through Hae soos job as a psychiatrist in a hospital. What’d nice is the drama doesn’t use the disorders as a way to create a forbidden love feel or as a way to make the characters ‘quirky,’ instead it shows the legitimate struggle to cope with having said disorder. Also blatantly portraying the fact that someone who suffers from a mental disorder can live relatively normal lives and can appear to be perfectly fine for the most part. One of the more famous scenes also expresses the stigma towards mental patients, stating that “Cancer patients or patients with missing legs, those patients get sympathy and empathy, but mental patients get stigmatized. Like seeing a disgusting insect. If three big stresses happen in a row, anyone can get a mental illness. Everyone acts like it can never happen to them.”
Along with winning many awards for the plot and acting, this drama has also received a plaque of appreciation from the Korean Society for Schizophrenia Research for helping raise awareness. Honestly as someone who has both grown up in a family heavily affected by mental illness and suffered from mental illnesses from a young age I do really feel this drama on a personal level. And the fact that it brings up many issues, including mental disorder and abuse, that normally is a topic that is kept extremely under the radar in South Korea.
This drama can be found both on youtube and on Netflix.
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