Sushant’s Death a Reminder of Media’s Apathy Towards Mental Health

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead at his Mumbai residence on the afternoon of Sunday, 14 June. 

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(If you are suicidal or know anyone in distress, you can reach out to local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs here.)

The year 2019 had been a milestone year for actor Sushant Singh Rajput. He managed to attain the notoriously elusive sweet spot of critical acclaim and commercial success. While Sonchiriya received enormous praise from critics, Chhichhore emerged as one of the biggest hits at the box office.

In Chhichhore, Sushant played a middle-aged father to a teenage son battling a failed suicide attempt. The film’s success ensured a brief engagement in the press and social media on issues such as mental health, anxiety, and depression.

Nine months after the film, on 14 June, news of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has once again catapulted mental health into living room conversations, social media posts and news debates.

The incident, however, has turned the lens also at those covering the actor’s death. Not just suicides, the media’s approach, understanding and handling of issues related to mental health have long been problematic.

Where exactly do the problems lie?  How can one identify these problems and how can we move towards empathetic, sensitive and responsible media coverage?

Dr Soumitra Pathare, Consultant psychiatrist and Director of Centre for Mental Health, Law and Policy at ILS Pune spoke with The Quint and explained how media's insensitive reporting can be culpable in complicating mental health issues in society.

Tune in to The Big Story.

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