Barkha Dutt and Shazia Ilmi
Barkha Dutt and Shazia Ilmi
File Images

Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s 'therapist' Susan Walker on Saturday spoke to veteran journalist Barkha Dutt about the actor's 'severe mental illness' and his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty's 'strong support' during the period.

Walker said that she had to break her silence after being dismayed by media's irresponsible coverage on mental health and the online attack on Chakraborty.

She said, "Sushant was suffering from bipolar disorder, a severe mental illness that can be crippling for an individual during an episode. The symptoms of which can include severe anxiety, major depression and sometimes disordered thinking and paranoia."

During the time, Rhea was "somewhat of a mother figure" to Sushant and "she completely filled that role with love, encouragement and patience", the therapist said.

Meanwhile, several Twitter users have slammed Barkha Dutt and Susan Walker for "defending Rhea" and breaching the confidentiality with respect to Sushant's state.

For the uninitiated, a person with mental illness has the right to confidentiality with respect to his mental health, mental healthcare, treatment and physical healthcare. Also, all healthcare professionals have a duty to keep such information confidential which has been obtained during care or treatment.

BJP leader Shazia Ilmi took to Twitter and slammed Barkha Dutt and said, "You have gone out on a limb to defend Rhea. In doing so you have used the account by SSR’s shrink,this breach of confidentiality and abominable cruelty shown towards a dead person.Accusing others of being misogynistic, Barkha? Ha! Try to some basic decency first."

Dutt said that she was neither defending nor attacking Rhea but simply reporting a dimension of the story. "I am neither defending nor attacking Rhea or anyone else. I have reported a dimension of this story which seemed legitimate to me for the seriousness of what it sought to highlight. Attacking me - is what you are doing. Go ahead," she wrote.

The heated exchange of words did not end there. Ilmi said that when Dutt calls the media misogynistic, she obviously defends Rhea. She added, "When you leak confidential information on mental health of a person who dies under mysterious circumstances you violate their basic right to dignity after death esp.without a court order.Unethical!"

Barkha retorted, "when I hear anchors talk about girlfriends looking "contrite" and being blamed by a mob for the deaths of their partners it does make me a little sick. Let investigators not kangaroo courts decide. I dont know her at all. But as a woman Id imagine you would have felt the same?"

The BJP leader added that the anchors have no business judging a woman and using adjectives based on their subjective bias, but "why treat a psychologist/psychiatrist’s report as gospel truth and share that sensitive info in the public domain. Ethical correctness trumps political correctness anytime!" she added.

Dutt said that she had merely reported a statement. "I didnt see you talking about the decency of the TV anchors who smeared a woman we know nothing of, in the way you have jumped on mine. Shazia you are better than this. Chalo anyway, have a good sunday," the journalist replied.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal