Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death came as a shock to many after news broke on Sunday.
The Mumbai police suspect that the 34-year-old actor died by suicide. The news brought an outpouring of affection, grief and shock from the Bollywood fraternity and audiences alike. Rajput was seen as one of the rare actors who had transitioned from TV screens to the silver screen successfully, and on his way to be a rising star with a few good films to his name: Kai Po Che, PK, Chirchore, etc. The actor was widely known for his role in Hindi television series, Pavitra Rishta.
After news of his death broke, filmmaker Karan Johar hinted that Sushant Singh Rajput was suffering from depression and blamed himself for not being in touch with the actor for the past one year.
Soon, Google trends in India showed a huge spike in searches for 'Depression symptoms.'
People also looked up what clinical depressions was, and one common related search resulted also mentioned Deepika Padukone - one of the few people in Bollywood who has openly spoken about mental health.
Google wasn't the only place people tried to search for to understand it. After news of Rajput's death, the conversation also shifted to speaking up about the mental illness on social media.
'Depression' became a trend as people found it difficult to wrap their heads around the fact that a young successful actor could end his life.
Unfortunately, this was perhaps also the only time social media is talking about suicide, depression and mental health. Usually it's just a fleeting conversation.
The fact is that Sushant did end his life, no matter how successful, how young or how promising. He was going through something so gruelling that ending his life seemed easier than living it. On the face of it, all was okay in his life, a young talented actor with some hit movies in his kitty, but beneath the clam surface, was tumultuous mental health.
Mental health is an issue and has been stigmatised since forever, a thing that cannot be afforded anymore. Each day, it is claiming more and more lives. Jiah Khan, Pratyusha Banerjee are some of the Indian actresses who ended their lives in recent years.
In the year 2015, India recorded 1,33,623 suicides, an increase of 1.4% from 2014's 1,31,666 suicides.
While it's scary and breaking the stigma is the only way to go, it's also reassuring to see the search trend, as a reminder that people are finally breaking the silence. People want to learn more, know more, to identify it in their loved ones, friends and family.
Fighting any mental health disorder requires compassion from the ones around you, instead of being dismissive. People often only resort to suicide when they feel that there is no hope left. Anyone thinking its just easy to pick up a phone and talk, or when people brush off mental health as "over-thinking" or "being too paranoid" or "just be happy" aren't solutions. Actively starting a conversation, and trying to be more compassionate and actually listening, are the starting point of the solutions.
Sushant Singh Rajput's death is heartbreaking and it's making more people than ever people want to understand depression and its symptoms, what to watch for, and finally - how they can help.
Note: This news piece may be triggering. If you or someone you know needs help, call any of these helplines: Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669, Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050, Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090, Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525, Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841, Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830, Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530, Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000, Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata).