Rhea, “a mother figure”, “his strongest support”: Sushant Singh Rajput’s therapist

Since the untimely demise of Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, speculations and a number of conspiracy theories surrounding his death have been doing rounds all over the media.

In conversation with senior journalist Barkha Dutt, late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s therapist Susan Walker has revealed Sushant suffering from Bipolar Disorder and Rhea Chakraborty, his girlfriend was synonymous to a mother figure to him during his illness.

She said, “In light of the misinformation and conspiracy theories currently raging on social media about Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty, I have decided it is my duty to make a statement. In my capacity as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, I met Sushant and Rhea on several occasions in November and December 2019 and communicated again with Rhea in June of this year.

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. The continuing, appalling stigma around mental illness makes it very difficult for patients and their families to reach out for help and support. This has to stop. Mental illness is no different to cancer or diabetes. It can affect anyone, regardless of class, financial standing and so on in a way that cancer can. It never demands fragility, weakness and poor character as cancer does not”

People with mental illnesses and their families need to feel safe from discrimination so that they can get their treatment and support and acceptance they need. There is no shame in having a mental illness. Should one feel ashamed of having cancer? Mental illness can be treated. It is often the shame of having such an illness that can drive people to suicide. Along with the absolute torment of being in the grip of an illness that affects the ways our minds and emotions work,” she added.

“Sushant was suffering terribly during his bouts of depression and hypomania. Rhea was his strongest support. From the first time I met them as a couple, I was impressed by the degree of concern, love and support she showed and it was very evident how close they were. Rhea took care of his appointments and gave him enough courage to attend, despite his being so fearful that someone would find out.

When he was severely ill, he depended on her as somewhat of a mother figure, and she completely filled that role with love, encouragement and patience. It was an incredibly hard time for her as seeing someone suffer through the cruelty of mental illnesses for all family members. They need to keep it a secret and bear things in silence, and added trauma. The treatment that Rhea has received on social media is deeply shocking to me as I have only ever experienced her as a deeply caring and sensitive person. Sushant’s sad and untimely death needs to be yet another lesson for us all—in ending of shame and stigma around mental illness”

He was found hanging in the bedroom of his Bandra house in Mumbai on 14th June 2020.