Sushant Singh Rajput Death Anniversary: People are now talking openly about mental health and trying to create awareness, feels Rashami Desai
It has been a year since Sushant Singh Rajput’s untimely and unfortunate demise shocked the film industry and the whole country. While it was alleged death by suicide, it still remains a mystery as to what really happened to him. Many conspiracy theories floated around, and the one that remained a topic of discussion was whether Rajput was suffering from depression due to personal and professional reasons.
And that started numerous conversations around mental health awareness. Rajput’s good friend, actor Rashami Desai agrees that ever since that unfortunate incident, many people have come forward and admitted that they need help.
“Now people are talking openly about mental health and what it means. They are trying to create awareness about it. Moreover, since the last one year, there is a lot that has happened in the world (due to the pandemic) and in the entertainment industry — from uncertain future, to lack of jobs, no money, health issues etc,” she points, glad that people have finally started to understanding “why communication is important”.
However, she adds, there’s still a long way to go. “People need to understand what mental health issue is. We have to learn that self-love is important too,” she insists.
On his first death anniversary, Desai remembers Rajput as a “strong and hardworking person”. She goes on to say, “Uski barabari kisise nahin ho sakti. He came from nowhere and became a name in the industry. He was an idol for many people. I know he worked really hard, made many sacrifices and adjustments to reach where he did.”
On the other hand, Dr Harish Shetty, clinical psychiatrist, isn’t really happy with the directions these mental health discussions went into.
“Since Sushant’ s death, the visual media has neutralised this advantage by irresponsible reporting,” he notes, adding, “Media campaigns went berserk and reinforced a lot of myths prevalent about mental health and illness. In the TRP war, mental health awareness suffered and caused a lot of pain to those who were already under treatment for depression. Many were pushed to the edge, thanks to a large section of the media, which played the victim, cop and the judge. In my journey, as a mental health professional, the publicity and focus on mental health since Sushant’s death has, in fact, not helped at all, but can be described as the darkest period of the mental health movement.”
Weighing in on whether the past year has witnessed any change in people’s mindset towards mental health issues, especially in showbiz, Shetty adds, “The entertainment industry has been open-minded regarding mental health for many years now. Younger professionals seek help when needed, but sadly, there is still huge stigma about it.”