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Caregivers of mental health patients suffer too, says Kabir Bedi


Caregivers for mental health patients deserve as much sympathy as the afflicted, says actor-turned-author Kabir Bedi. In conversation with author Meghna Pant at the Times LitFest on Sunday, the actor spoke about how two people he loved struggled with mental health issues. One was Bollywood actor and ex-wife Parveen Babi and his son Siddharth, who took his own life in 1997. Bedi’s memoir, Stories I must tell: The emotional life of an actor is an honest account of the guilt and burden he dealt with.

Talking about the difficult task that caregivers face, Bedi said that Babi’s emotional distress came at a time when he was on a professional high in Europe following the release of his film Sandokan. “It was a strange jugalbandiof an extraordinary euphoria with a cloud of emotional problems with the person you love the most in the world.”

He said the struggle becomes easier when the patient realises that they need help. “Self-realisation is the biggest challenge that a person faces. But mental health can be treated much better now,” he added.

Underlining the need to end the stigma and shame around mental health, Bedi said, “People must realise sometimes that the caregiver is suffering the most.” He spoke about how caregivers are torn between adjusting to the patient’s needs and wanting the best for them.



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