He took a gamble in his career, quitting a “respectable consulting strategic job” to become a singer. While it paid off, his journey has been fraught with difficulties.
American-Korean singer Eric Nam, 34, faced emotional distress while starting his career in Korea and experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression when he first moved around the world.
“When I was asked about getting help for anxiety, panic attacks, and forms of depression, I was told that I would risk and damage my flourishing career,” Nam shared in his acceptance speech at the Time100 Impact Awards held in Singapore on 17 Sept.
He added, “The lack of professional support and care ultimately manifested in painful ailments that left me in a vicious cycle of both poor physical and mental health.”
The Time100 Impact Awards recognises global leaders who have gone above and beyond to move their industries forward.
And, Nam was honoured alongside Bollywood actor-singer Ayushmann Khurrana and Oscar-winning actor Ke Huy Quan.
His contribution to the conversation surrounding mental health and wellness is Mindset, a self-care app for Gen-Zers which he co-founded with his brothers.
The community platform has about 750,000 users, does daily check-ins, and allows a space for artistes (like members of Seventeen and singer-songwriter Julia Michaels) to speak freely about their efforts to stay healthy.
Mental health at the 'core of every single person'
On the creation of the app, Nam previously told Insider, “I wanted to create a platform that would allow artistes to speak freely in a comfortable setting about whatever was going on. We want to be friends and allies of artistes as much as possible because this industry is cutthroat.”
This feels especially important as Nam highlighted in his speech that the topic of mental health remains taboo despite the fact that it affects everyone.
He said, “Mental health is at the beginning and it is at the end of everything that we are. It affects every single person on this planet. It affects how we see ourselves, how we present ourselves, and thus, how we build our careers and our relationships.
“Mental health affects how we think, how we feel, how we act, how we love, and how we are. Yet for some reason, this thing that is at the core of every single person on this planet continues to be taboo.”
Though being a public figure lends more impact to his voice, Nam also reminded people that everyone can contribute to the discussion.
And, it starts with something cliche and simple.
“Being and embracing our best and most authentic selves with all of our beauty and our flaws is where we can begin. It should be with kindness, with honesty, and with grace,” he shared.
He also added that, as much as it might feel impossible, we should remember and encourage ourselves to be perfectly imperfect.
“To me, this Time100 Impact Award is an affirmation that being who you are and who I am is enough. It is a reminder that it is okay not to be okay.”
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