Why Some South Korean Companies Are Making Employees Fake Their Own Funerals

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South Korean companies are using an interesting initiative to prevent suicide among employees. Many workers in South Korea experience stress at their jobs, and the country has one of the world's highest suicide rates, BBC News reports. To combat stress among workers, some South Korean companies are forcing their employees to stage their own funerals, complete with actual coffins, with the idea that it will help them appreciate their lives. BBC News explains that before climbing into the coffins, the employees are forced to write letters to their family and friends, and many of them burst into tears while doing so. The employees also watch inspirational videos of people with cancer in their last days, or people with disabilities who have overcome adversity. After composing these farewell notes to their loved ones, the employees climb into the coffins, which are sealed by someone dressed as an "Angel of Death." They stay in the caskets for about 10 minutes, contemplating their lives and what would happen to their loved ones after their deaths.
The fake funerals are orchestrated by the Hyowon Healing Center in Seoul, which is run by a man who previously worked at a funeral company. In addition to the memorial-service exercises among companies' employee groups, visits to the healing center are also used for individuals who are depressed and may be contemplating suicide, according to CNN. These funerary ceremonies aren't the only way South Korean companies are trying to increase morale, either. Some companies hold sessions of "forced laughter" each morning, while others allow hourlong nap breaks during the workday. Although these initiatives may seem strange, they're attempts to rectify a serious issue — an average of 40 people in South Korea take their own lives each day. Of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Korea has the highest suicide rate, CNN notes.

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