“Sab Khairiyat?” The Voice that gave us the voice – Mental Health Discussion for Screenwriters


Screenwriters Association (SWA) hosted a discussion “Sab Khairiyat” to create a platform where writers speak about their mental health. The discussion comprised various screenwriters including Anjum Rajabali (moderator), Preeti Mamgain, Adhiraj Sharma, etc. These esteemed writers came together to speak up about their struggles with mental health, opening a spectrum of acceptance, both self and social, for those who need it. Breaking the stigma of mental health lies at the heart of this discussion.

The Mental Health of Screenwriters:

The discussion laid its focus on how prevalent is mental health struggles among the writer’s community. Stress and loneliness have been the centre of attention. Financial security often comes as a risk factor to mental well-being for an artistic profession like screenwriting. Approximately 50 per cent of the screenwriters are already enrolled for psychiatric medication, showcasing the need of the hour to talk about the mental health struggles of the writer’s community.

The Psychological Interpretation of Writing:

The moderator Rajabali signified how a writer loses himself to find a piece of writing. A writer often has to travel from reality to fiction in writing. The nature of writing is often understood as a dual nature, where a writer immerses into emotions of two extreme ends. The art emerges when a writer loses its identity for the work. This journey of shifting one’s own identity from self to a character comes with a lot of cognitive energy. Sometimes even the character can have a long-lasting impact on one’s personality and way of thinking.

Burnout among writers: The writer’s community is often not emphasized enough in terms of exhaustion and mental health. With stressful deadlines and financial instability comes a great deal of risk for mental illnesses. The spectrum of writers is often glorified with a balanced lifestyle, but the reality goes different.

Creativity is the constant: For the non-writer population, creativity is something that gives a kick sometimes when a solution is given out of a box. But thinking creatively every day indeed takes a lot of mental energy. Creativity is when our mind creates a new set of solutions from a different set of assimilated knowledge. This is possible when we let our minds think freely and openly about everything. But when it becomes a monotonous routine followed by the pressure of deadlines and performance pressure, creativity at a constant can is completely exhausting.

Dealing with it: While the nature of the work is inevitable to change, how writers can adapt to deal with it can go miles. Seeking perfection is indeed considered an element of the writing profession, not losing one own self in it can contribute a lot. In the hectic hours of consistently thinking creatively, even a small break can be a saviour from burnout. Embracing what the process is providing is indeed an interventional strategy, when financial insecurity creeps in, the satisfaction and contentment that the artistic work can provide some relief, though not complete compensation. Professional support like therapeutic management and psychiatry support can help in the battle of mental health struggles.

Citations +
  • Torto, T. (2023, March 7). Writers and Mental Health – The Writing Cooperative. Medium.
  • Pavitra KS, Chandrashekar CR, Choudhury P. Creativity and mental health: A profile of writers and musicians. Indian J Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;49(1):34-43. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.31516. PMID: 20640063; PMCID: PMC2899997.
  • Deshpande, S. (2012). A writer′s look at literature, fiction and mental health. Indian Journal of Psychiatry/Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 54(4), 381.
  • Vyavahare, R. (2024, June 6). The Screenwriters Association’s (SWA) highlights need for mental health support in writing community. The Times of India.
  • The Screenwriters Association’s (SWA) “Sab Khairiyat?” highlights need for mental health support in writing community. (n.d.).
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