Important to know signs of mental health problems: Experts

With the suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput shining the spotlight on mental health issues, experts have suggested that people first need to be able to identify the problems so they can seek help and get the right treatment.

The “Chhichhore” actor’s body was found hanging in the bedroom of his home on Sunday, leading Mumbai police to launch a probe into the suicide from various angles.

According to Dr Samir Parikh, Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, depression is an illness that is characterised by periods (of two weeks or more continuously) in which an individual experiences low moods, lack of interest, reduction in pleasure in activities, tiredness or fatigue, poor concentration, changes in sleep and appetite, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness or even thought of self harm (in severe forms of the illness).

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“When a person’s functioning is affected and these symptoms are present it is important to seek help,” Parikh said, adding that treatment can involve a combination of or individually the utilisation of medicines and psychotherapy.

“It is also important that people focus on self care, identify if there are errors in their thinking, determine ways to manage emotional functioning, seek support in friends and family and most importantly talk about the struggle they may have and not hesitate because of the stigma or misconceptions that surround mental health problems,” he said.

Actor Deepika Padukone, who earlier opened up about her own struggles with depression, emphasised on the need of “reaching out” again on Sunday.

“As a person who has had a lived experience with mental illness, I cannot stress enough about the importance of reaching out. Talk. Communicate. Express. Seek help. Remember, you are not alone. We are in this together. And most importantly, there is Hope,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

As Manish Jain, Consultant, Psychiatry, BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, pointed out, social, psychological, cultural and other factors can interact to lead a person to suicidal behaviour, but the stigma attached to mental disorders means that many people feel unable to seek help properly.