Can social media be an indicator of a person’s mental health? Here’s what celebs have to say
Actors such as Tisca Chopra, Zeeshan Ayyub, Zareen Khan and Shama Sikandar talk to us about whether social media today has become such a powerful and telling medium to indicate a person’s mental health problems.Updated: Aug 12, 2020 20:16 IST
Actor Sameer Sharma’s death recently was yet again a shock for the country, following Sushant Singh Rajput’s sudden demise. The one thing not many missed is the former’s Instagram post on July 27, which was a poem, the first few lines of which were, “I built my pyre and slept on it, And with my fire was lit…”. Actor Richa Chadha’s comment, which caught attention, read, “This was a warning sign … RIP brother. It’s a tough world.”
This raises many question: Has social media become a way to gauge a person’s mood and mental health too, in today’s time? Was Sharma’s post hinting at his inner conflict? Should we take social media so seriously as to be giving warning signs of a person’s state of mind, if they post a series of life lessons, negative quotes or thoughts?Actor Zareen Khan feels any kind of warning should be taken seriously, whether on social media or anywhere else. “In a place where everyone is pretending to be happy, among that, if one is being courageous enough to actually put out something maybe as a sign of help has to be taken seriously. I don’t think there’s any harm in checking on people on a regular basis. Everybody leads a very hectic life and busy, but I don’t think it takes away anything by sending a message r doing a 10-second call to your near and dear ones,” she says.
However, Tisca Chopra is of the opinion social media can’t be enough on its own to figure what a person is going through. She reasons, “Not in and of by itself, but as I understand, Sameer was living alone. In times like these, which are once-in-a-lifetime, people are isolated, and social media might be the only place where you can actually reach out to express something you’re thinking. This may be the truth right now, when one reads a little out of character. It’s good to reach out. That might be the only outlet at this point.”
In fact, Rajput’s Instagram posts might have been scientific and philosophical most of the time, but his comments also hinted at how he felt left out from the film industry. He had written in reply to a fan once “If you don’t watch it (my films) then they would throw me out of Bollywood. I have no Godfather, I’ve made you (all) my Gods and fathers. Watch it at least if you wish I do survive in Bollywood.”While it’s not possible to ascertain if a post was written with so much charged emotion, many feel one can’t conclude anything just from social media.
Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub says people close to the person can pick up on the signals better than others. “Only people in touch or close to them would know and can understand. If I read somebody’s post, I just follow them, I don’t know them. I will not know ki yeh insaan aisa nahi hai. The world of social media is huge, everyone can’t understand that something isn’t fine. Their close people should reach out, talk to them, tell them to consult a psychiatrist. Especially in this phase like lockdown, the only way to meet someone is social media, and people can see if someone is reacting negatively. Even I get calls sometime ‘why are you being so angry over things’,” tells us the Raees (2018) actor.
Shama Sikandar is of the opinion, having battled bipolar disorder herself, that one can never fully know what the other person is going through. “The state of a mental being is so complex, you cannot ever fully know, even if you speak to someone, that there is no hope for the person. Even if you now, it’s difficult to decide whether this person will commit suicide or not. It’s on that person’s inner strength,” she says.
She also advises people to not feel guilty about not being able to stop the person from taking any step. “This is not your burden to carry. What is your burden and what you must be conscious about, is taking a small step of being conscious towards asking someone how they are feeling, every day, whatever time.”
Clinical psychologist Pulkit Sharma explains to us, “Social media is not sufficient to conclude but if someone feels depressed or hopeless, it will be there in their thoughts. Wherever they write, be it a letter, or social media post, it will be influenced by their thoughts. I mean the thing is we should refrain from making a conclusion out of it. But if someone has a negative state of mind, it will reflect in their social media posts also.
BIGGEST SIGNS: Sign of depression or suicide is hopelessness. If someone says ‘life is very grim, there is no hope, everything is looking murky’, or if someone is expressing a huge sense of loss, these are signs. Social media can’t be the parameter nonetheless. If someone has a certain state of mind, that will be reflected. When you are hopeless and not as conscious, yeh cheez social media pe nahi likhenge.
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