The death of Bollywood actors Sushant Singh Rajput and Sandeep Nahar had sent shockwaves across the nation. The 'Kai Po Che' actor was found hanging by the ceiling fan at his residence in June, last year. These are two of the many cases that happened in the industry over the past year, however, lack of opportunities and depression are the two common reasons that forced them to take the drastic step. Former Bollywood actress Somy Ali, known for films like "Teesra Kaun?", "Anth", "Aao Pyaar Karen", feels that society should be blamed for their lack of awareness and knowledge about mental health issues.
Somy, who runs an NGO called No More Tears (NMT) in the United States, said, "Suicides will continue unless we change. As in 'we' break the stigma attached to mental health issues. I blame us. I blame our backward thinking and being negligent towards learning about mental ailments. This ignorance and lack of interest in educating oneself is and has caused deaths. I am sounding harsh and extremely pessimistic, but it is because I am so angry at our society for not taking a stand against the prevalence of psychological disorders."
Applauding actors like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Aamir Khan, who took to public platforms to create awareness about mental well-being, she added, "I commend all of them who have dared to speak up on these issues. Only awareness and education will help in decreasing the statistics on suicide. I can’t emphasize this enough, we need mental health workers conducting workshops all over South Asia and even in rural areas, educating women, children, and men on the realities of mental health disorders."
Somy's NGO works towards saving and supporting domestic violence survivors. Sharing her take on abusive relationships, she stressed that it will not change until we protect the victim rather than protecting the abuser.
"This is what I work with daily with NMT. Here too, I blame us. We have constructed a world where we blame the victim, not the abuser. Let’s not forget men and young boys get abused too and, in our culture, it is even harder for them to speak up, because our society forces a man to be macho. Unless and until we stop protecting the abusers rather than the victims, nothing will change," she said.
"The most despicable part of all of this is when women who know of other women who have been abused protect their abusers because they are powerful and famous or in some instances, they need that abuser’s help to excel in their careers. It’s disgusting. So, to reiterate, nothing will change unless we have courageous voices speaking up against these perpetrators. Voices like Rihanna, Halle Berry, Diandra Soares, Zeenat Aman, and many more who genuinely care about victims are my heroes," Somy concluded.