No, Baba Sehgal, hope doesn’t help one snap out of depression

After Hema Malini, popular singer-musician Baba Sehgal has followed suit into branding anyone who commits suicide as a “foolish jerk” or a “loser”. There is a disheartening uniformity amongst people’s reaction to Pratyusha Banerjee’s suicide. It is reflective of our stance as a society on mental illnesses and how deeply the stigma is entrenched in our attitudes thanks to a long period of social conditioning.

The celeb-endorsed way out of depression or suicidal thoughts seems to become “hopeful” and happy. It is sad to see people in positions of influence cashing in on their popularity to further the crowd from a sense of understanding and developing sensitivity for people with mental illnesses — these are knee-jerk reactions with flimsy, thoughtless, misinformed solutions that reflect no awareness or knowledge about what people actually go through in situations like these.

The popular culture and media is a strong formative component in sealing our perception towards many things, including mental illness. In such a situation, where people need to focus and take action on furthering the discussion around mental health to be more inclusive and educational, we see celebrities like Baba Sehgal and Hema Malini drawing and playing around with binaries of “losers”, “fighters” and “hope” as prevention to suicides.

What did you make of Baba Sehgal’s song? How do you think popular culture can become an effective tool in raising awareness about mental health and mental illnesses? Tell us in the comments below.

Watch the full video of Baba Sehgal’s song, “Hope Hai Toh Dope Hai” here -

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