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Vikram Bhatt calling Sunny Leone a ‘self-proclaimed OCD patient,’ is problematic as it trivialises the seriousness of mental illnesses.
In an interview with Times Now Digital, filmmaker Vikram Bhatt talked about his upcoming series Anamika and the lead actor Sunny Leone.
While talking about how hardworking Sunny is, Vikram said, “She is a self-proclaimed OCD patient. She wants her dialogue right, she wants everything to be perfect.”
While there is nothing wrong in being hardworking, the casual usage of the term OCD is what is problematic. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that affects a number of people across the globe. Contrary to what is generally shown in pop culture, OCD isn’t just ‘obsessive’ cleaning and washing hands, it is way more than that.
The stigma around mental illnesses is still quite rampant in India and we need to refrain from making such statements that trivialise the illnesses. Statements like these make the issue seem minor and take away the seriousness of it.
Despite the staggering statistics of the poor state of mental health in India, people still refuse to accept these as a ‘real thing.’ Usually, when a family member tries to talk about their problems, they are often told, ‘It is all in your head! Aisa kuch nai hota hai.’ (These things don’t exist).
Some times, the person’s struggles are belittled to such an extent that they stop talking about it altogether, choosing instead to suffer silently. Often, they might also be told that what is happening to them, happens to everyone. Thus, making them feel even worse for sharing their problems.
According to a report in the Times of India, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 7.5 percent Indians suffer from some mental disorder. About 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million from anxiety disorders.
India also has the highest numbers of suicide in the world. It has become the leading cause of death among women and teenage girls, surpassing maternal mortality.
These statistics are a representation of the state of mental health awareness in the country. When terms like ‘OCD’ and ‘depression’ are dropped casually in a conversation, it creates hurdles for mental health professionals who are constantly working towards de-stigmatising mental health in the country. And it also causes issues to the ones who are struggling with any of these.
It isn’t just one person but several ‘responsible’ media houses that have had insensitive coverage of mental health issues. We have often heard people casually say someone has depression or bipolar disorder on national media and in pop culture. This irresponsible reporting is so common that the Press Council of India issued guidelines to report mental health issues in 2019.
However, not everyone is so insensitive towards these issues. A number of public personalities and celebrities have come out and spoken about their battles with mental illnesses.
In 2015, Deepika Padukone opened up that she suffered from depression and even made an attempt to remove the stigma surrounding it. She formed a foundation with an aim to ‘create awareness, reduce stigma and change how we look at mental health.’
Similarly, in 2020, Shaheen Bhatt, Alia Bhatt’s sister wrote a book ‘I’ve Never Been (Un) Happier.’ In the book, she spoke openly about her struggle with depression and revealed she has been dealing with it since she was 12 years old. Recently, Shaheen started a social initiative called ‘Here Comes The Sun’ to encourage conversation around mental health.
When public personalities being using their voices and platforms responsibly, it helps in the destigmatisation of mental health. And also enables people to come forward and seek the help they need.
Picture credits: Stills from Sunny Leone and Vikram Bhatt’s Instagram handle
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