Jasmin Bhasin doesn’t concur with actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s statement that mental health and depression are purely “urban concepts”. The actor is worried such a may further deepen the stigma associated with the subject, rather than curbing it.
“Depression is universal. It can happen in any city, village or country, to an educated person or uneducated person. It doesn’t matter, only the expression and reactions may vary. While everyone has the right to their opinion, depression can’t be termed as a rural or urban (concept),” Bhasin says.
The 32-year-old adds, “The existing information and technology has raised the bar of life and lifestyle everywhere and pace is far faster then in an era where mobile phones and social media didn’t exist. So, depression or mental health is prevalent everywhere.”
She picks an example from her own personal life to highlight how there is still lack of awareness around mental health, and the ripple effect it can have in people’s life.
“It is present everywhere. It is just that in the rural space, or tier 2 or tier 3 cities, there is not not much education and awareness about mental health and importance to talk about. So, people don’t realise what they are going through or how to give words to their struggle or problem,” says the actor.
Here, Bhasin feels people are more prepared to deal with the issue, but that doesn’t mean it can be termed as an urban concept. She stresses, ““People like us who live in metropolitan cities, we have more knowledge about the concept because it is discussed more, but it happens everywhere. I have a case of my own mother wherein for years she didn’t know that she had depression and her anxious breathing was the result of depression”.
She explains, “She realised that she is going through depression once she got aware of it, and after I took her to the doctor and he explained it to her. So, it clearly shows that depression and mental health issues can be anywhere, even the places you don’t notice”.
That is the reason Bhasin feels it is important to push forward the conversation in a positive light, instead of giving terms to it.
“At the moment, in rural areas and smaller cities, people still don’t talk about it openly, and it is considered a taboo. It is considered normal in the metropolitan cities, just like we get fever and go for treatment for depression. We do talk about the issue and getting treatment. But that is not the case in the rural areas. It is still a taboo, even if people discover about the illness, they don’t like to disclose it thinking that they will be treated differently,” Bhasin mentions, asserting that it is important to push for awareness about mental health all across instead of labels.