Kangana Ranaut’s statement on depression is problematic and untrue for mental illnesses
The untimely death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has snowballed from a suicide enquiry case to an investigation on drugs racket in the industry and while the controversial debates on acting professionals and scintillating statements on mental health conditions followed, one tweet on depression by diva Kangana Ranaut is a red flag in itself. With a huge fan following like the one Kangana enjoys, such bizarre claims and unscientific statements not only stigmatise mental health further but also place us several steps back in the fight against it.
Taking to her Twitter handle recently, Kangana had shared a news clip and stressed, “Repeat after me, depression is a consequence of drug abuse. So called high society rich star children who claim to be classy and have a good upbringing ask their manager ,” MAAL HAI KYA?” #boycottBollywoodDruggies #DeepikaPadukone (sic).” The tweet was enough to give sleepless nights to mental health professionals including one of India’s leading mental health institutions, VIMHANS Mental Health & Rehab who retweeted Kangana’s statement with the warning, “Do NOT (sic).”
While VIMHANS’ debunking of such myth was much appreciated by netizens who retweeted it widely over 1.1k times, sadly, Kangana’s misleading tweet might have reached many who do not consider depression as a health disorder like other ailments in the first place. It is like we are living back in the dark ages and need to school people that depression is not merely sadness but one of the many symptoms of the mental illness.
On a more grim note, India is the most depressed country in the world where every sixth person requires therapy since at least 6.5% of Indians suffer from serious mental disorders, as per a 2018 report by the World Health Organisation and National Care Of Medical Health. Kangana’s tweet rides on the back of the already prevalent taboo around depression and mental illnesses which holds back patients of the condition from seeking therapy, hospitalisation or rehabilitation services.
As per the WHO, depression could be caused due to a number of biological, psychological and social factors. One cannot snap out of it by “talking to someone” or cure from it by engaging in a job or simply by giving up their addictions and so Kangana’s irresponsible tweet is problematic, untrue and even triggering for some apart from being misleading.