Tuesday, February 22, 2011

English Teacher (probable) Suicide in Busan...Counseling Services in Korea

Got this from ATEK: good job preparing a quick response here.

Press Release: Contact: Rachel Bailey, Communications Officer

ATEK Responds to Recent Death of “Teacher K” in Busan
Busan, South Korea – February 21, 2011 – As reported earlier this week on Chosun.com, an American English teacher based in Busan, identified in the report at Teacher K, fell to his death from the 14th floor of his apartment building on February 19, 2011. The teacher had apparently been absent from his hagwon for some time prior to the incident, and, while it’s not explicitly clear that his death was a suicide, it does appear that alcohol abuse contributed to his death.
We at ATEK are deeply saddened to hear of Teacher K’s death. We recognize that life abroad can cause stress and alienation that sometimes result in tragedies like this, but members of the English-teaching community should know that there are systems in place to help them in times of need. ATEK has local emergency needs officers in both Gangwon and Gyeonggi as well as a president and vice president whose doors are always open to those suffering from substance abuse or severe mental distress. We stand ready to offer support and assistance in finding appropriate treatment programs and counseling for anyone who needs it, whether or not they are part of our membership. Any English teachers who are in need of help can visit atek.or.kr/emergency for information on how to get it or email our emergency needs officers at the addresses listed below.
We would also like to take this opportunity to invite anyone interested in assisting members of the English teaching community in need of assistance finding counseling or treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues to join our Emergency Needs Committee. Please email officers@atek.or.kr for more information about how to join.
Gangwon Emergency Needs – Caroline Barsellotti – gangwon.emergency@atek.or.kr
Gyeonggi Emergency Needs – John Fojut – gyeonggi.emergency@atek.or.kr
ATEK President JaeHee Oh – president@atek.or.kr
ATEK Vice President Adrian Lake – vicepresident@atek.or.kr

I'd like to add a few other links to free counseling services in Korea:

KoreaBridge has this web discussion about counseling in Korea.

The excellent website Korea4Expats also has these directories where you can connect with communities also counseling groups, and hospitals or doctors.

Don't try to go it alone, folks.  There ARE people who want to listen.

If anybody knows of other sources and services, please please add them to the comments.  Moderation is on because of the previous post, but they'll show up as soon as I can.

International Counseling Hotlines
http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/south-korea-suicide-hotlines.html - south Korea suicide hotlines - can't say which have English service.

Google search for "International Suicide Hotline"


Levi Kaufman said...


I re-posted this on AFEK. I hope you don't mind. I really enjoy your positivity and perspective on life here in Korea. It's easy for people to lose sight of how great life here can be, when I was more jaded I didn't appreciate as much. Anyways, thanks a bunch.

Roboseyo said...

I sincerely appreciate the kind words, Levi, and thanks for spreading the word, too.


K.C. O'Shaughnessy said...


Thank you for posting about the counseling services available in Korea and the links to organizations like ATEK. You've done the current and future expat community a service.

I'm at the beginning of my teaching application process and did not know associations like these existed. Now I know there are organizations in Korea that can give me guidance if ever I need it.

Anonymous said...


AA in Korea for those who may need it...

Roboseyo said...

Thank you very much, ANON.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this reaction to the suicide?

"Severe Alcoholic Openly Teaches Students: Unbelievable Native Speaking Teacher Employment System," Busan Ilbo.

Original (Korean):

See here for English translation: http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2011/02/speechless.html

Chris in South Korea said...

I sort of wonder if we should be posting more outrageous news of the same style. You know, news about Koreans who do stupid things, then try to pass off our views based on the actions of one person. Because one person speaks for their country, right? If one businessman takes a bribe, they all do, right?

Anonymous said...


As Edward Said said "the answer to Orientalism is not Occidentalism" and the opposite is certainly true - so I certainly wouldn't endorse such a project.

"Orientalism and occidentalism are both dead ends. They allow for no creative thinking, no growth, no mutual influence. They are both essentially
negative, carping, and snide." - Diana Lary

Roboseyo said...

None of these emails seem to work. Is this counselling group still functioning?