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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Anti-suicide guide: why just for us?

HT City Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 07, 2013
First Published: 16:31 IST(7/10/2013) | Last Updated: 17:58 IST(7/10/2013)

There’s a new ‘anti-suicide guide’ doing the rounds in Bollywood, and members of the fraternity are zapped.


Sunday saw the launch of the ‘Defeat Depression, Prevent Suicide (DDPS)’ helpbook for the film industry — an event that has stirred a huge debate in the glamour circle. Many actors and film veterans think it’s unfair to ‘target’ just showbiz, since they feel suicide isn’t profession-specific.

“I think it is very silly to single out Bollywood celebs. Suicide is not profession specific. It is about one’s mental state,” model-turned-actor Dipannita Sharma says. Actor Minissha Lamba finds herself speechless at the idea of such a booklet. “I don’t know what to say. It’s as asinine as treating cancer with vitamin B,” says Lamba.

Actor Pooja Bedi shares the same opinion, and says it’s sad that tragic incidents in the industry are being sensationalised. “Anything which is connected to Bollywood is more dramatised and more glamourised, and certainly makes more money. That’s the only logic that I can think of, behind such a book,” she says.

Those behind the 20-page booklet, however, say it’s only been created with good intent and is available free of cost. Dr Yusuf A Matcheswalla, Mumbai-based psychiatrist and one of the main contributors to the guide, says, “After the unfortunate Jiah Khan suicide, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt approached me saying that we’re not doing enough ... so we discussed the idea and came up with the booklet.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/Pooja-Bedi-big.jpg

Some, like actor Divya Dutta, seem to understand his point. “My brother, who is a doctor, is a part of this initiative and was there when the booklet was being created. I think actors lead extremely stressful and unpredictable lives and many face rejections and face much exploitation, so this book will help them.”

Excerpts from the guide
The foreword by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt reads, “Recently ... a mother returned home to discover her young daughter hanging from the ceiling fan. The girl was an actress with great potential. Her name was Jiah Khan. The tragic death of Jiah devastated Bollywood and jolted us all out of our self induced coma of well being. It forced some of us to do what was long overdue. So we reached out to some of our friends who are professionals in the area of mental health.”

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