Gulshan Devaiah asks people to discuss mental health after Nawaz calls depression an urban issue

PTI, May 24, 2023, 4:26 PM IST

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Mental health awareness can help most people manage life better, said Gulshan Devaiah on Wednesday after the actor expressed disagreement with industry colleague Nawazuddin Siddiqui who called depression an illness prevalent in cities and among the rich.

In a series of tweets, the ”Dahaad” star said while he didn’t want to question Siddiqui’s beliefs or opinions, it is important that mental health is discussed openly ”even at the risk of being wrong or ill informed”. ”The idea is to discuss mental health and try and understand it. I do agree that his opinion about depression is a common theme among a lot of people. I myself struggle to understand mental health issues properly. ‘But even at the risk of being wrong or ill informed we must try and talk about this freely. It’s very manageable for most people with a little bit of awareness,” Devaiah wrote on Twitter.

The attempt is to sift through the clutter of extreme opinions to find a place that is useful, the Bengaluru-born actor added. ”I don’t have a rural upbringing but I have close family members who grew up in villages and have very problematic behaviour because they didn’t process their trauma properly and they pass it on to others. Let’s try not to be blind or have a blindfold about such matters,” he said. In a recent interview with online portal Mashable India, Siddiqui was asked how he stays positive in life.

In his response, the ”Badlapur” star — who hails from the small town of Budhana in Uttar Pradesh — said: ”Where I come from, if I tell my father ‘Abbu, I’m feeling depressed’, he would slap me. He would abuse me and ask me to go to the sugarcane fields. Nobody faces depression over there, everyone is happy.” The 49-year-old had said he found out about mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder after he came to the city, adding one catches these illnesses when they amass wealth. Siddiqui doubled down on his views on mental health in a new interview, explaining he was drawing from his own experience, but added that he ”maybe wrong”.

Devaiah shared the video posted on channel NDTV 24×7’s official Twitter page, saying he respects Siddiqui for his craft but would not take him seriously on the issue of mental health. ”If you even just look at alcoholism or addictions, they exist in rural communities and that’s mental illness. No addict indulges in addiction because they love it. The addiction is a symptom, the real problem is the trauma they can’t heal,” he wrote in his previous post.

The problem with the term mental illnesses is the word ”illnesses”, Devaiah noted. ”… In our minds mental & illness together means ‘paagal’ (mad)” he wrote in a separate tweet.

When a user, a counsellor as per her Twitter bio, asked Devaiah to let professionals ”do the talking”, the actor said mental health concerns shouldn’t be left only to practitioners.

”If we don’t talk then it won’t matter just like in politics or anything else. MH pros can provide expert advice and information but we have to talk,” he added.

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