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Puneeth Rajkumar’s death: More than what meets the eye, say doctors on fans’ suicide

Two fans of Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar’s dying by suicide after hearing the news of their idol passing away have been reported in Karnataka.

Published: 01st November 2021 02:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st November 2021 09:51 AM   |  A+A-

Prabhu Deva pays last respects to Puneeth Rajkumar at Bengaluru's Kanteerava Stadium. (Photo | Ashishkrishna HP, EPS)

Prabhu Deva pays last respects to Puneeth Rajkumar at Bengaluru's Kanteerava Stadium. (Photo | Ashishkrishna HP, EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Two fans of Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar’s dying by suicide after hearing the news of their idol passing away have been reported in Karnataka. However, doctors say there is more to this than what appears on the surface and that the actor’s death may have been a trigger.

It may be premature to say that suicide is linked to the tragic death of a beloved celebrity and investigation and adequate information are warranted before coming to a conclusion, said Dr V Senthil Kumar Reddi, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS.

“A multitude of factors may have led these persons to take such a drastic step. They may have been vulnerable already, suffering from earlier depression, going through financial distress or had adverse experiences in childhood leading them to develop maladaptive behaviour while handling stress,” Dr. Reddi said.

He added that the death of an adored celebrity can feel like losing one’s family member, causing just as much grief as one experiences when losing a close friend, sibling, parent or a child. 

Some are more affected than others and lack sufficient emotional support systems while mourning.

It is important for such vulnerable people to reach out for help either through immediate family or through available helplines.

Due to personality traits, some people may be more vulnerable to stress factors even under situations unrelated to them (such as the death of a celebrity who they have not met).

For instance, they often get tattoos of the person’s name or keep their effigies at home, said Dr Shradha Shejekar, Consultant, Psychiatry, Aster RV Hospital.

“While some fans may want to inflict pain on themselves in the form of death, others experience excess emotional attachment, where they feel there is no point in living if the actor is no more. Psychosis, low IQ, social isolation, loneliness, unemployment and poor physical health are also factors that push people to self-harm. A sudden traumatic event also is perceived to decrease the fear of pain which can result in self-harm attempts among the vulnerable,” she added.

During such times, she recommended limiting media consumption where the news of celebrity death is continuously being aired.

Diverting the mind through daily routine, hobbies, deep breathing, limiting substance abuse, practicing spirituality and avoiding talking about the tragic incident are other coping mechanisms, she mentioned.

Puneeth fan kills self, survived by pregnant wife

Chikkamagaluru: Unable to bear the loss of actor Puneeth Rajkumar, a 30-year-old fan committed suicide on Saturday. Sharath, an ardent fan of the late actor, was watching the coverage of  Puneeth’s death on Saturday, when he went to his room and hung himself. He is survived by a child and an eight-month pregnant wife.  A resident of Rampura, Sharath was a labourer, who used to supply saw dust to hotels.

(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 9152987821, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm).



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