In the wake of actor Sushant Singh Rajput's demise, social media saw the death of sensitive and responsible journalism. It also prompted a renewed discussion on 'Bollywood clans' and the prevalent toxicity in the film industry.
However, conversations on mental health issues also came up on social media, with many celebrities talking about their own battle with mental health issues. And that's a conversation that needs our attention.
Congress MP Milind Deora was one of the first public personalities to talk about how he handled depression as a teenager, and even as a Member of Parliament.
My own experience with suicidal thoughts, first as a teen & even as an MP, taught me to live with the blues. Sharing 5 effective coping tools... pic.twitter.com/yMiVfAgC9U— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) June 14, 2020
India needs to talk more about mental health 🧠https://t.co/df3r9oFWek— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) June 15, 2020
In an interview with NDTV, he also talked about how difficult it can be to grapple with suicidal thoughts, how it is important to seek professional help, and professional spaces should be equipped to help those with mental health problems.
Like gender equality in the workplace, all companies, governments, and employers should offer support to those seeking help and exhibiting symptoms. In hindsight, I realise there is no shame in wanting time off or rejuvenating. Everyone's body is different. For instance, if someone got cancer, your boss wouldn't expect you to come to work in that condition. We have to overcome the stigma of mental health and seeking counselling.
Comedian Danish Sait also took to social media to talk about his struggles with depression, while adding that just as one seeks help for physical ailments, it is important to seek help for mental health problems.
Our trigger points are very different, for some it’s professional, some it’s personal. Sometimes, there’s just nothing but a hollow feeling. A gas chamber where it’s hard to live and breathe. Medical help is the bomb! Do it, even if there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s helpfu— Danish Sait (@DanishSait) June 15, 2020
Awareness to a problem is half the solution to a problem, my brain doesn’t produce enough chemicals that keep me balanced, I induce them, it works for me. I work out, it works for me, I speak, it works for me. Fix yourself! Don’t be shy, it’s all cool 🙃— Danish Sait (@DanishSait) June 15, 2020
Actor Deepika Padukone, who has previously spoken about her battle with depression, publically supported Danish Sait while reiterating that mental health issues, like physical health issues, are also illnesses that need medical treatment.
It is extremely heartening to see soo many of you coming out and sharing your experience with mental illness. https://t.co/BDArEVZ36b— Deepika Padukone (@deepikapadukone) June 15, 2020
Actor Shamita Shetty also talked about her own struggle with depression, how important it is to seek help, and not try and battle it alone.
At the same time, many people also took to social media to talk about how, internet needs to be a safer, more considerate place for people, and how we must not misuse or stigmatize words like depression or anxiety.
Mental health issues are a form of illness.— Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) June 14, 2020
They are not an option.
They are not a choice.
They cannot be voluntarily switched on or off.
They have nothing to do with strength or weakness.
Please don't judge people who struggle with it or who have lost the battle to it.
Sorry I am retweeting myself. This was dated Mar 27, 2020. https://t.co/ADq6OS3LzY— Anubhav Sinha (@anubhavsinha) June 14, 2020
Depression is complicated.— Sudhir Mishra (@IAmSudhirMishra) June 15, 2020
It is d result of complex interaction of reasons.There is biology,initial upbringing ,d relationship with parents ,the consequences of choices ,d consequences of relationships and the ability to handle inevitable betrayals.Amateur advice is dangerous
People, just talking to friends and loved ones is not enough and at times it may also be damaging and ill-advised. Seek professional help. The most intelligent people on my TL do not really understand mental health and at a time like this, it shows.— Rony (@VHSwaala) June 14, 2020
NDTV anchor Ravish Kumar shared how harmful and insensitive it can be to sensationalize the death of a celebrity, and why 'self-proclaimed experts' are not what the society needs.
This is certainly not the first time that conversations on mental health have taken place in Bollywood. In fact, in the past, celebrities like Anushka Sharma, Shama Sikander, Ileana D'Cruz, Rohan Joshi, have also spoken about the different mental health issues they've sought help for.
However, these conversations need to happen more regularly, till the time seeking help for mental health issues becomes as normal as seeking help for physical ailments. Because anyone, irrespective of fame, financial status, relationship status, or success, can be affected by mental health issues.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, experiencing suicidal thoughts, or just need someone to talk to, remember that help is just a phone call away. Reach out to the following helplines in India. BMC mental health helpline: 022-24131212 (available 24X7), Vandrevala Foundation: 186-02662345/180-02333330 (24x7) or AASRA: 91-9820466726 (available 24X7).