BY Julie Jones | Jul 21, 2014 11:18 AM EDT
In her new drama "It's Okay, It's Love," Gong Hyo Jin plays the calm and collected psychiatrist Ji Hae Soo. And it's not unusual for a star to research their drama profession before taking on a role.
However, because of the traumatic three-car accident that she was involved in during the shooting of "It's Okay, It's Love," the actress also got to experience what it was like to be a patient in therapy.
At the recent press conference for "It's Okay, It's Love," the actress confessed that she not only received medical treatment for the physical injuries she sustained, which included surgeries for a fractured arm and injured knee. She also saw a psychiatrist because she had psychological issues after the accident.
"I started to have a sleep disorder after the accident," she said. "I would wake up almost every 10 minutes and I started to be afraid of driving and riding in cars. I never expected that such an accident would happen to me."
Even though she could not sleep she had to return to the set as soon as possible and resume filming. Getting a good night's sleep is essential as filming schedules can be grueling and already shortchange actors on sleep. The way she felt after the accident gave her a new appreciation for people who suffered after having an accident or other traumatic event.
"I started thinking that many people must have gone through a hard time because of car accidents and had to consult with psychiatrists," she said. "Things got a bit better after I took medicine. I have no sleep disorder now."
She described the experience as a positive one and thinks that taking medication for mental health should not be looked down on or considered any different from taking medicine for a physical problem.
"Making a trip to a psychiatrist is not so much different from visiting a doctor because of a cold," she said. "My physical and mental condition got much better thanks to them.'"
Her new drama features several characters with mental health issues such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Tourette's syndrome. The drama's screenwriter Noh Hee Kyung saw the drama as a way to change viewers' perception of mental health issues.
"About 80 percent of the nation has some mental illness symptoms, and about 20 percent should consider taking prescribed medication," said Noh. "It came to my attention that people seem to equate mentally ill people with criminals."
"It's Okay, It's Love" may change that perception.
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