Noona’s Noonchi founder Jeanie Chang tells K-Dramas from a mental health perspective

There’s nothing like cozying up to your favorite K-Drama at the end of a long, hard week to brighten the mood. And now that so many are finding solace in K-dramas, Korean-American therapist Jeanie Chang is taking the opportunity to explore mental health topics in a relatable way through the lens of K-dramas, promoting wellness through her passion. Jeanie Chang is the founder and CEO of Noona’s Noonchi®, LLC, a global wellness company that provides mental health education and resources and is also a global tour operator offering K-Culture tours, including K-drama and K -pop sites, cultural hands -about activities and wellness experiences.

After sharing her insights with people around the world over the past few years, Jeanie Chang has now packaged these thoughts into the book “How K-Dramas Can Transform Your Life: Powerful Lessons on Belongingness, Healing, and Mental Health,” which is will be released on May 7. Ahead of her book launch, Jeanie Chang took time to chat with Soompi about Noona’s Noonchi and her book, K-dramas, and her future goals.

The origin of Noona’s Noonchi

Jeanie Chang explained that Noona’s Noonchi was created at the height of the pandemic in late 2020, when there was also an anti-Asian hate movement. “I was working with a lot of university students and young professionals online at the time, leading support group sessions, and I would bring K-Dramas into our sessions to cheer them up and find a different, more fun way to talk about mental health. historically quite stigmatized in Asian culture.” Encouraged by students to share her content more widely, she founded Noona’s Noonchi, which provides mental health education and is also a global tour operator.

Jeanie Chang’s book on K-dramas and mental health

Jeanie Chang’s book “How K-Dramas Can Transform Your Life: Powerful Lessons in Connection, Healing, and Mental Health” will obviously appeal to fans of K-drama and K-culture, but Chang explained her desire to also reach a wide audience reaches. larger audience. “My hope is also to intrigue those who may not have seen K-dramas or have only seen ‘Squid Game’ to read my book because they are interested in how K-dramas benefit mental health. In this sense, my book is intended for anyone who wants to change their life for the better and for the sake of their mental health.” She added: “I hope my book piques the interest of those who are fascinated by the global impact of pop culture in general.”

What sets K-dramas apart

Jeanie Chang presented seven aspects that distinguish K-dramas from other dramas:

  • “K-dramas are of the highest production quality, and it shows.”
  • “K-drama writing is second to none. It focuses on the character development and growth of the characters, making them very relatable and drawing us into their story. That’s why we get so emotionally invested in K-dramas.”
  • “K-dramas, because they are often written by women, show the story from the female perspective. This is a shift from the historical male gaze, which makes them refreshing and globally appealing, as the vast majority of K-drama viewers are women.”
  • “K-drama themes focus on the heart of what Korean culture is based on young (Korean affinity, connection, kinship) and outlined in the relationships within K-dramas that people find endearing.”
  • “K-dramas are ambitious and inspiring, highlighting messages of resilience and hope.”
  • “K-drama storytelling has a formula that is, in all honesty, predictable, but we actually like the tropes (whether we know it or not) because things being predictable are a good coping mechanism for stress and trauma.”
  • “K-dramas promote belonging. Because of their global appeal, K-dramas build interracial and intercultural bridges around the world, and it makes the world a more welcoming place to tackle the social isolation epidemic.”

K-dramas that positively impact mental health

When asked about K-dramas that had a positive impact on her personal mental health, Jeanie Chang shared many titles including ‘If You Wish Upon Me’, ‘Twinkling Watermelon’, ‘Seo Yeong, My Daughter’, ‘Reply 1988 ‘ and ‘My Mister’, which revealed that ‘My Mister’ even inspired the title of her book. However, the drama that started this whole journey for her was the 1992 show ‘Jealousy’, starring Choi Soo Jong and Choi Jin Sil. “It changed my life because I discovered that my Korean culture, heritage and background were precious and through it I found confidence in my own identity and came to love who I am. Here I am, decades later, speaking about the intersectionality of mental health and identity and using K-dramas in my work, analyzing them from a mental health perspective.”

K-drama recommendations from Jeanie Chang

Soompi asked K-drama expert Jeanie Chang to reveal her recommendations for people in different situations, to which she shared the following answers:

  • Are you feeling down and just want to cheer up: ‘Coffee Prince’, ‘Weight Lifter Kim Bok Joo’, ‘Strong Woman Will Do Bong Soon’, ‘Mr. Queen”
  • Do you want to cry: ‘Thank you’, ‘Master sun’, ‘Uncontrollably crazy’, ‘My mister’
  • Want to watch a romantic drama with a healthy relationship: ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Healer’, ‘Fight For My Way’, ‘Her Private Life’, ‘Twinkling Watermelon’
  • Do you want to watch a drama with your family: ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’, ‘My Father is Strange’, ‘Again’, ‘Bravo, My Life’

Jeanie Chang’s future goals

In closing, Jeanie Chang commented on her future goal to further expand her company Noona’s Noonchi in Korea, and especially shape the country’s mental health infrastructure. She explained: “I hope to do this by building on my K-drama wellness tours of South Korea, transforming the tourism industry and making my mark in Korean society as an expert clinical speaker, executive coach and author in the promoting mental health resources to improve the mental health of Koreans of all generations.”

Read more about Jeanie Chang’s upcoming book here!