Fact: Mental illness kills more than 135,000 people in India every year. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness makes about 15% of the total disease conditions around the world. The organisation has also labelled India as the world’s ‘most depressing country’. A 2019 report by the World Health Organisation found that India has the highest suicide rate in South-East Asia. And we can't fathom why being vocal about one's mental health or discussing mental illnesses is still considered a taboo. In India, people are reluctant to talk about issues like depression, anxiety, or stress. The majority of Indians don't even know the symptoms of a mental illness and lack of awareness is the main reason behind this shortfall. And if certain people are vocal about their mental health issues then they have to deal with the stigma that comes attached to it. Thankfully, we have certain Bollywood actors like Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma who didn't shy away from opening up about their battles with depression and anxiety and tried to bring the conversation to the forefront so that people struggling with it don't feel alone.
Recently in an interview with a digital publication, actor Amit Sadh also opened up about his own mental health. He revealed that there was a phase in his life when he was suicidal and attempted to end his life multiple times. He said, “Between the age of 16 and 18, I tried committing suicide four times. I didn’t have suicidal thoughts. I just went to commit suicide, there was no planning. I just woke up one day and tried and tried again and again and again. Then by God’s grace, the fourth time, the last time I did, I knew that this is not the way and this is not the end. And things changed. My mindset changed. And since then, it has evolved and the philosophy of ‘never giving up’ came in me.”
He also added that he understands that there are several people who succumb to this darkness, but there are also the ones who fight it and come out stronger. He explained that it took him several years to overcome his own demons. “There must be so many people who commit suicide but there are so many more people who contemplate or have thoughts about committing suicide on some dark day. For me, what marks real strength is to come out of it. I didn’t overcome it all in one day - took me 20 years! I just found one thing for sure - this is not the end. Life is a gift. So, the day I understood this, I started living it. I feel blessed and fortunate that I’m on the other side of the white light. Now I have a lot of compassion, love and empathy for people who become weak.”
Amit has never shied away from embracing his emotional side and vulnerability. His fans witnessed that when the Kai Po Che actor was a part of Bigg Boss season 1. He was unfiltered, expressive, emotional, and extremely relatable. While recalling the tumultuous phase, he revealed how his co-actors called him names and said he needed to visit a psychiatrist. He said, “I remember a very big actor telling my ex-girlfriends that ‘ye pagal hai isko psychiatrist ke paas leke jao (He is mad, take him to the psychiatrist).’ Then I met him after two years and told him 'Sir main pagal nahi hu (Sir, I’m not mad)’. I’m absolutely ok. Maybe I’m more emotional or might have had some other issue. Maybe I was feeling lonely or upset but I’m not mad. Mera dimaag bilkul theek hai (My mind is perfectly fine).'"
Finally, Amit asked the people who are struggling to remember that they are not alone and they should never give up. He said, “I hope and pray to God that whatever your pain is it doesn't last long and for that you should never give up. Don’t give up.”
Timely intervention and awareness about mental health issues can save a lot of lives. Remember no one chooses a mental illness, it happens to people. Seeking treatment and being vocal about it can those who are struggling. It's okay to not be okay.
If you or someone you know needs help, reach out for help on these numbers:
Aasra: +91 98204 66726
Fortis Stress Helpline: +9183768 04102
Parivarthan: +91 76766 02602
Cooj Mental Health Foundation: +832 2252525
Sneha Foundation: 044-24640050
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