Health & Wellness

'Looking Depressed': Media Narrative On Mental Health

BP World Bureau | Aug 05 2020 02:53:55 PM
Image credits: Twitter

MUMBAI: The conversations around actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death have triggered a series of misconceptions about mental health and depression, that might dangerously propagate stigma against the illness. 

'Dil Bechara' actor died last month and as per the initial reports, he was struggling with major depression and killed himself. 

This led to a series of discussions and debates about mental health and how it is often neglected. 

However, the narratives around Sushant Singh Rajput's death changed eventually and there were conversations regarding nepotism, favouritism, isolation, and systemic defamation.

After his father filed an FIR against Rajput then-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborthy for harassing him, the conversations have shifted to murder and blackmailing. 

While the mainstream media questions Rajput's peers, colleagues and friends regarding the nature of his death, media also shunned the idea of him being depressed saying that he does not "look depressed."

For eg: TV channels like Times Now have played video clips of the actor asking the audience if he looks depressed.

Sanjog activist Pompi Banerjee said that act of suicide is a process - personal, social, economic, political circumstances all have to combine for a person to reach that stage where they find no meaning in continuing to live.

There are conflicting narratives. A prominent journalist interviewed Rajput's psychiatrist who said that he suffered from bipolar and was subjected to self-harm. 

Another narrative suggested that Rajput was pushed to suicide through stigma, alienation, bullying, and physical violence.

This comes as major backtracking in a society that already has plenty of misconceptions about mental health. 

Clinical psychologist Uma Chatterjee ‘either-or’ belief, that suicide may be triggered either by a mental illness OR social conditions, may be incorrect.