BOLLYWOOD : Is it another breeding ground for DEPRESSION and SUICIDE?

By: Hazel D. Planco | Published – Guitarmonk Post [Copyrighted, All Rights Reserved]

jiah-khanWith the recent shocking death of Bollywood’s Jiah Khan, another young life has succumbed to depression and suicide. The apparent stress and constant pressure in the entertainment world as well as being in the public eye can lead to strained functionality in life can prove to be deadly, as most cases of Bollywood entertainers’ attempted and completed suicide. Though most people would usually shrug it off and consider such news as simply a part of the hullaballoos of the show business.

Depression has long been seen as simple blues or sadness, or a feeling of hopelessness or despondency.  In reality, it can be bigger and much more serious than that.  Many would think depression is common but also fail to recognize that it is a medical condition that may progress into worst over the course of time when left untreated.

The impact of celebrities committing suicide also affects the general public’s view of how a problem should be dealt. Knowing that celebrities are public figures and are also being idolized by people, it is indeed worrying that consecutive suicides from these icons may also trigger more copycat suicides especially when the issue becomes too sensationalized. Just like the case of the 12-year old boy from Rajasthan who continuously watched the TV coverage of actress Jiah Khan’s ending it all and was not given guidance upon his inquiry to his family why the actress committed such act, has resorted to buying DVD’s of the Jiah’s movies and after watching them has confined himself to his room and later was found hanging from the ceiling. Thus, widespread coverage of suicide in the media can be said to be a triggering factor of copycat suicides in the mass public.

Another example to cite is when the young people who have been bullied or been depressed and their names are then all over the media and there are even times when the people who bullied them or who have caused their depression or suicide are pressed with charges and this can also send an ironic message that suicide itself can be an effective way of getting back at their oppressor. And another thing is that when you die, people will glorify you and you can also destroy the lives of the people you blame for your depression or even just the people you hate as others will tend to prosecute them or make them feel guilty for driving you to end your life. Is this how much de-stigmatization can media cast on suicide?

Educating the public and with the help of those who are in the entertainment industry would create a strong and powerful tool to combat depression and suicide. An awareness campaign regarding depression and suicide prevention should be constantly featured in different media to help address the growing concern on depression and self-harm.  Remember that anyone and everyone can be at risk of depression, regardless of age, social and economic status or race. We have to be well-informed and conscious about the different signs and symptoms and must be equipped with skills on how to manage stress and depression.

One thought-provoking discussion on suicide by writer Tony Dokoupil , in his article ‘ The Suicide Epidemic’,  notes how self-harm came to take more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Why are we killing ourselves, and how can we stop it?

Depression is treatable and manageable. Suicide is not the easy way out. Go out and seek help. Hope is on the way. Help someone fight and win over depression. Be someone’s guiding light.

As concluded by Thomas Joiner, a Florida State University professor, “We need to get it in our hearts that suicide is not easy, painless, cowardly, selfish, vengeful, self-masterful, or rash. And once we get all that in our hearts at last, we need to let it lead our hearts.”

The National Institute of Mental Health includes the following guidelines for depression:

Here are the Symptoms to look out for:

  • Depressed mood – most of the day, every day
  • Mood swings – one minute high, next minute low
  • Lack of energy and loss of interest in life
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Disturbed sleep patterns – sleeping too much or too little
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Thoughts about death and the option of suicide

How can I help a loved one who is depressed?

If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get a diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage your loved one to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if no improvement occurs after 6 to 8 weeks.

To help your friend or relative

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
  • Talk to him or her, and listen carefully.
  • Never dismiss feelings, but point out realities and offer hope.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your loved one’s therapist or doctor.
  • Invite your loved one out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don’t push him or her to take on too much too soon.
  • Provide assistance in getting to the doctor’s appointments.
  • Remind your loved one that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

How can I help myself if I am depressed?

If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But as you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better.

To Help Yourself

  • Do not wait too long to get evaluated or treated. There is research showing the longer one waits, the greater the impairment can be down the road. Try to see a professional as soon as possible.
  • Try to be active and exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
  • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
  • Continue to educate yourself about depression.


Here are also the list of depression and suicide prevention organizations in India:

Suicide Prevention Centres in India

National Associations

Befrienders India – National Association

c/o Sneha, 11 Park View Road


Chennai- 600028



255 Thyagumudali Street


Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:

Helpline 1: +91-413-233 9999


Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 14:00 – 20:00



1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas,

Sindhi Colony

S.P. Road


Andhra Pradesh

Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:

Helpline 1: 9166202000

Helpline 2: 9127848584

Email Helpline:

Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 11:00 – 21:00



B12 Nilamber Complex

H.L. Commerce College Road




Helpline 1: +91 79 2630 5544

Helpline 2: +91 79 2630 0222

Opening hours : 1pm to 7pm All 365 days

State : KERALA

MAITHRI – Cochin 

ICTA – Santigram

Changampuzha Nagar (P.O.)

Kalamassery, Ernakulam

Kochi- 682033


Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:

Helpline 1: +91 (0)484 2540530


Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 19:00


The Samaritans, Helpline 

c/o Lowjee Wadia Trust

Riddhi Siddhi CHS, Next to Lal Baug Police Chowky

Dr. B. Ambedkar Road, Parel

MUMBAI -400 012


Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:  – Email:

Helpline 1: +91-22-32473267


Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 15:00 – 21:00

Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 21:00


104, Sunrise Arcade

Plot 100, Sector 16


NAVI MUMBAI -400 701


Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:

Helpline 1: +91 22 2754 6669


24 Hour service:



1 Bhagwandas Lane

Aradhana Hostel Complex


NEW DELHI – 110 001

Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:

Helpline 1: 2338 9090


Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 14:00 – 22:00

Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00



11 Park View Road

(Near Chennai Kaliappa Hospital)

R.A. Puram

Chennai -600 028 Tamil Nadu

Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:  – Email:

Helpline 1: +91 (0) 44 2464 0050

Helpline 2: +91 (0) 44 2464 0060


Email Helpline:

24 Hour service:


Lifeline Foundation 


West Bengal

Helpline 1: +91 2463 7401/7432

Helpline 2: +91 2474 5886


Email Helpline:




47 Pottery Road

Frazer Town

Bangalore – 560005


Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone

Helpline 1: 2549 7777


Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10:00 – 18:00



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