Kushal Punjabi’s suicide has brought the issue of mental health in show business — particularly the television industry — to the forefront. Actor Arjun Bijlani says people in the TV industry cannot talk openly about depression because it might hamper their chances of getting work.
“The industry is a very Catch-22 situation. You can’t open up because you feel then whatever little chance you have of getting work, you would lose it. People won’t give you work because they’ll think you’re depressed. It’s a very weird situation for actors sometimes. They want to open up but they can’t, they don’t trust anybody. It’s a sad state actually,” said Bijlani, who worked with Punjabi on ‘Ishq Mein Marjawan’.
“The solution is that we, as a society, need to change. There should be more awareness about depression, there should be centres and these centre numbers must be sent to everybody. If you are depressed and you are going through anything and you feel suicidal, then please contact this number. There should be these numbers where at least someone can call up and talk to you during those moments,” added the ‘Naagin’ actor.
Bijlani also feels that social media is a major cause for depression.
“Nowadays, because of social media, I think a lot of people just see everybody’s posts and they feel that the person is so happy. And seeing someone so happy kind of makes you more depressed than what you already are. You feel that everything is only going wrong in your life and everything is going right in somebody else’s life. But not everything that shines is gold. I think social media is playing a very dominant role today in people’s lives,” the actor said.
“I may be wrong but I have a feeling that everybody thinks that this person is going there or doing this more, than ever before. Because earlier you didn’t know, you used to see it once in a while. But now everything is so instant, someone buys something, it’s on social media, someone wears something, it’s on social media. Someone has a new project, it’s on social media. Everybody knows everything about everyone. You might feel someone has it all but they may be still depressed or they may be still sad,” he added.
Bijlani said you cannot let fame, or the lack of it, get you depressed.
“I need fame like Shah Rukh Khan but that doesn’t mean that if I don’t have it, I will get depressed. It’s important to learn how to be content with what you have and keep working hard to reach your goal. You may achieve it or you may not achieve it, you need to tell yourself right from the start that this happens in every field,” he said.
He also emphasised on “creating an environment of happiness”.
“You got to keep doing your thing, small or big, whatever but create an environment of happiness with people around. Work is an aspect of life, but happiness truly comes from being with the people around you and family and many other things,” he said.