Mental health is a consistent and widespread topic in K-dramas these days. Although it has been addressed in the past, these days screenwriters and filmmakers are making more efforts to raise awareness about the problem and highlight the different types of illnesses that fall under mental health. These K-dramas often show the characters healing themselves from their respective illnesses and this in turn provides healing to the viewers which is why they are so pleasant to watch. If you are looking for K-dramas dealing with mental health, here are 16 of them.
Warning: This feature contains elements that may trigger some.
Note: The list is in no particular order.
1. “It’s okay to be not okay”
Moon Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun) works as a nurse in a psychiatric clinic. He meets a woman named Go Moon Young (Seo Ye Ji) who writes dark children’s books and is very fond of him. She is determined to win Kang Tae’s heart, but Kang Tae cannot mind romance and relationships because of his dedication to caring for his older brother, Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se) who is autistic.
“It’s okay to be wrong” is a series that really deals with the topic of mental health and different types of mental illness. Many of the characters are dealing with trauma that left them very emotionally charged as adults. By leaning on each other, they can understand each other and deal with their respective problems.
2. “It’s okay, this is love”
In “It’s okay this is love” Jo In Sung Stars like megastar writer Jang Jae Yeol, who meets Ji Hae Soo, played by Gong Hyo Jin. They develop a strong dislike for one another, but when Hae Soo discovers that the owner of the house she rents and lives in belongs to Jae Yeol, she has to make amends for him and put up with his arrogant ways. Despite their mutual hatred, the two find that they are very similar and this becomes a breaking point in their relationship. From there comes a lovely romantic relationship.
This is one of the most memorable series dealing with mental health and healing. When hot famous writer Jang Jae Yeol is struggling with severe mental illness, viewers may find compassion and some may even relate to it. He was one of the first male leads in a K-drama to suffer from schizophrenia, and viewers follow him on his journey to healing. There are several raw and emotional scenes depicting how he is trying to overcome his illness. The love and loyalty he receives from his love Ji Hae Soo is uplifting to see.
Now look at “It’s okay this is love”:
3. “Kill me heal me”
“Kill Me Heal Me” is about a rich man named Cha Do Hyun (Ji Sung) struggling with multiple personality disorders due to a traumatic experience as a child. More precisely, he has seven personalities, one of whom is also in love with the female lead Oh Ri Jin (Hwang Jung Eum).
This series does a great job of not only exposing the insanity Cha Do Hyun is going through, but also exposing it in ways that are lighthearted and funny at times. Although the subject is quite serious, the character of Cha Do Hyun shows strength and persistence in the face of the beating of his demons. He is ready to find out where the root of his illness lies and is trying to figure out how to cure it. He is a brave and brave character who doesn’t give up without a fight.
You can watch “Kill Me Heal Me” here:
4. “SKY Castle”
“SKY Castle”Is a K-drama set in a neighborhood called SKY Castle, where four families are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure their children attend a top university at any cost. The cast includes Yum Jung Ah, Lee Tae Ran, Yoon Se Ah, Oh well Raas well as some new faces whose popularity skyrocketed due to the success of this series.
One of the best things about SKY Castle is the awareness and attention it gives to students facing pressures to do well academically, especially in South Korea. This constant urge on the part of students to be successful and work hard can cause them to break down and become depressed, which is so effectively addressed in this drama. It is heartbreaking to see the children all grappling with these pressures on their own, but it’s also encouraging that it sheds light on an issue that needs to be talked about in society.
Now watch the first episode of “Sky Castle”:
5. “Fix you”
Lee Si Joon (Shin Ha Kyun) is a psychiatrist who tries to cure his patients in various ways. He cares about their healing and finds eccentric ways how they can cope with their mental illness and trauma. He meets Han Woo Joo (Young So Min), a music actress with problems that lead to emotional breakdowns. Lee Si Joon is ready to work with her to help her heal.
The love and devotion Lee Si Joon has for Woo Joo is heartwarming. He takes it upon himself to be there for her and to help her overcome her problems in a way that is not arrogant. Even when she is emotional and unstable, Si Joon looks past her need and has total compassion for her. With this loyalty and love, Woo Joo finds the strength to deal with her breakdowns and find healing in her love for Si Joon.
Watch the first episode of “Fix You” here:
Go Doc Wed (Park Shin Hye) is an introverted girl who spends most of her days avoiding people at all costs. She rarely leaves her small apartment and finds outgoing people a bit stressful. But if Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon) catches her chasing her neighbor, it gets pretty uncomfortable. She doesn’t seem to avoid the open-minded and outspoken Enrique. The two form an unlikely bond and begin to develop serious feelings for each other.
Go Dok Mi’s introverted personality begins to affect their lives when they are afraid to go outside. She has social anxiety that prevents her from wanting to interact with anyone outside her home, which is why she stays inside. But when she meets Enrique, he tells her to come out of her shell and deal with any problems that lie deep within her. She realizes that she has some baggage to overcome in order to heal. It’s an adorable love story that shows how opposites actually attract!
Watch the first episode here:
With Yoon Kye Sang as Lee Kang and Ha Ji Won As Moon Cha Young, “Chocolate” is about a man and woman who meet as children and face very unfortunate circumstances that drive them apart. They experience some tragic events that fatefully bring them together again as adults. Lee Kang becomes a successful brain surgeon and Moon Cha Young is a cook. Cha Young recognizes Lee Kang when she first reunites with him, but he doesn’t recognize her, which is a very confusing and uncomfortable situation for Cha Young.
Lee Kang and Moon Cha Young both suffer great losses at a young age. When the trauma hits Moon Cha Young, as she ages she becomes unable to cope with it, which forces her to bury the memory. Whenever something in her life triggers her, she gets a severe panic attack that often makes her pass out. When she meets Lee Kang, she realizes what the event is that she has buried so deep within herself. She also finds a way to come to terms with it so that she can live her life in freedom.
8th. “Only between lovers”
Junho and Jin Ah won Star in Just Between Lovers, a tragic accident series between Lee Kang Doo (Junho) and Ha Moon Soo (Won Jin Ah). The two characters meet as adults and do not realize that they were both involved in the accident that occurred as children. They fall in love after having to work together on a construction site.
Lee Kang Doo and Ha Moon Soo are both embroiled in a disaster that destroys all their hopes and dreams. When the two reunite as adults, Lee Kang Doo discovers that Moon Soo was so traumatized by her past that she completely forgot about it. Kang Doo helps her come to terms with her past to help her heal. The two have a wonderful love story that revolves around fate and dreams. With mutual help, they can not only be a light for one another, but also find meaning.
Watch the first episode of Just Between Lovers here:
9. “Secret garden”
This classic series plays the main role Hyun Bin as Kim Ju Won and Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im. Gil Ra Im is a stunt woman who accidentally meets the CEO of a department store named Kim Ju Won. Although the two are initially repelled, they slowly fall in love. The two find it difficult to be together due to their respective backgrounds, but they still struggle to be together.
Leading actor Kim Ju Won is a bit of an idiot, but he has reasons for it. As a result of a few pieces of luggage and tragic events from the past, Ju Won suffers from severe claustrophobia, which forbids him to get into elevators and even to drive under tunnels. When he meets Gil Ra Im, he realizes that in his life he has to let go of control and let love in. It becomes the main ingredient and reason for Ju Won to find peace in himself.
You can watch “Secret Garden” here:
Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is not your usual K-drama character. She is in college and dreams of becoming a weight lifter. She is raised by a single father who owns a fried chicken restaurant. On a random day, she happened upon Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk) attending the same college as her. He is training to be a swimmer but has a few things he wants to find out. The two become really good friends and eventually have feelings for each other.
Kim Bok Joo’s dreams of becoming a weightlifting champion come to a halt when she falls head over heels in love with Jung Joon Hyung’s older brother. She becomes aware of her weight and ambitions, which makes her rethink all of her life. This puts them in a downward spiral of depression. She doesn’t understand the complicated feelings and emotions she has, but Jung Joon Hyung helps her find happiness in herself eventually.
Watch the first episode here:
With IU As Lee Ji An, “My Mister” is a heartbreaking story about a girl who is just trying to get by in life. She was given an unfortunate hand in life and rarely good has happened to her. She looks after her frail grandmother by taking on a number of part-time jobs and lives in a grave pit of constant depression. However, that changes when she meets Park Dong Hoon (Lee Sun Gyun), an optimistic and compassionate office worker. He sees Ji An fighting and tries to help her whenever he can.
Lee Ji An has been through hell all her life. She has lost almost all of her family and can hardly afford to take care of her sick grandmother. She is depressed and finds no happiness in her daily life. Ji An looks at life in a negative light and goes through life’s actions, but has nothing to smile about. However, when she meets Park Dong Hoon, an older man who is extremely positive and caring, Ji An sees how he sees the world and begins to change. He helps her without expecting anything in return, which Ji An has never had in her life. Under his guidance, she realizes that a happy life is possible.
Watch the first episode of “My Mister” here:
12. “First clean with passion”
“Clean With Passion For Now” stars Yoon Kyun Sang and Kim Yoo Jung in a delightful rom-com about first love. Yoon Kyun Sang plays the CEO of a cleaning company called Jang Sun Gyeol who is a serious germaphobe. He meets Gil Oh Sol (Kim Yoo Jung), who, on the other hand, is a little less than clean. She doesn’t care how she looks and being tidy isn’t high on her list of things to do. The two meet and form a hateful relationship at first, but then it slowly evolves into like and love.
Jung Sun Gyeol has severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder inflicted on him as a child after trauma. After a certain event, Sun Gyeol was a complete germ cell and it prevented him from having any normal relationship and life. When he meets Gil Oh Sol, he is faced with a girl who challenges him to change. It gives him the courage to face his problems and to want to fix them. It’s an adorable romance and despite the serious theme, it makes you smile and laugh.
You can start looking here:
13. “Heart to heart”
Cha Hong Do (Choi Kang Hee) is an innocent woman who has severe social anxiety. She can’t even look people in the eyes without blushing and trying to run away and hide. She reads everything she learns in life, but when her grandmother dies, it forces Hong Do to go out into the world and explore. During this time she meets Go Yi Seok (Chun Jung Myung).
Choi Kang Hee doesn’t feel like getting better until she meets Yi Seok. Yi Seok can give Kang Hee the courage to step out of her shell and find the confidence to get better. He is patient and loving with her while she deals with her fears about the world. It really is a lovely love story, and very effective for showing the struggles of social anxiety!
Now watch the first episode:
14. “Hyde Jekyll Me”
Gu Seo Jin (Hyun Bin) is a chaebol who is the CEO of an amusement park. He seems to have it all in terms of looks, wealth, and sanity, but he also struggles with dissociative identity disorders. When his heart rate gets faster, his personality transforms into a kind and gentle one – as opposed to his usual cold personality. He meets Jang Ha Na (Han Ji Min) when they argue about getting rid of the circus show in his amusement park. Even though they bump heads, they begin to understand and develop feelings for one another.
Gu Seo Jin was traumatized by an event that happened 15 years earlier that led him to isolate himself emotionally from the world. He would rather avoid living his life and being free than getting caught up in his feelings and allowing his other personality to emerge. He is very reluctant on his way to healing, but with the help and support of Ha Na he finds the courage deep down to deal with his trauma in order to heal. It is a series in which you will make Seo Jin be free from his past and live his life the way he should be.
Start the first episode here:
fifteen. “Thirty but seventeen”
Gong Woo Jin (Yang Se Jong) hasn’t been the same since a tragic accident in his youth. As an adult, he has a hard time connecting with people and self-improvement is definitely not something that really interests him. Then he meets Woo Seo Ri (Shin Hye Sun.), a girl who wakes up from a coma after 13 years. The two discover that their fate goes back a long way. During this particular discovery, they lean on each other for emotional support.
Woo Jin and Seo Ri both experience the same traumatic event when they are in high school. This dramatically affects both ways in different ways, but specifically for Woo Jin, he has lived in complete seclusion. He refuses to interact with the world around him and has thereby become a shell of a person. After meeting Seo Ri again, he discovers that she holds the key to coping with his past trauma and can be released.
Watch the first episode here:
“Beautiful Love Wonderful Life” tells the story of three families that are all intertwined. The main family consists of three daughters, each with their own problems, which are developed over the course of the series. There are marriages, divorces, and deception in all families, and they learn to rely on one another and help one another with their problems.
Kim Chung Ah (Seol In Ah) is going through some tough times, but her entire family doesn’t seem to notice. She is bullied at school, which makes her depressed, and she plans to commit suicide. The day she tries to take her own life, she guesses it and decides not to go through it. Chung Ah finally finds the hope in herself of wanting to live her life despite all the difficulties she has been through, and she finds love in the process.
Now watch the first episode:
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-dramas is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate prejudice is Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A to Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she travels through her latest amazing Korean journeys!
Currently watching: “Was it love?” and “When I was the most beautiful”
Favorite dramas of all time: “Secret garden, “”leprechaun, “”Because this is my first life, “”Star in my heart”
I’m looking forward to: I wonReturn to the small screen and Song Joong KiThe next drama