On the occasion of 'Friendship Day', a number of celebrities in Bangladesh addressed open letters to their friends on social media. They uploaded these letters on their personal Facebook profiles, pages and Instagram.
Notable figures, such as actor Mosharrof Karim, Bappy Chowdhury, Nirob, Monoj Pramanik, actress Ashna Habib Bhabna, Moutushi Biswas, Robena Reza Jui, and Sunerah Binte Kamal participated in the letter-writing campaign. Prominent writers like Anisul Haque, Sadat Hossain also came forward and wrote letters to their friends.
The celebrities penned these letters as part of an initiative by well-known mental health organization Moner Bondhu. By using social media's outreach, the celebrities urged their fans and followers to pay special attention to mental health and step up to support each other during the pandemic.
In their letters, the stars wrote about their unspoken feelings and support messages for friends. With hashtags such as #LetterToThatFriend, #MonerBondhu, #মনেরবন্ধু, they encouraged their fans to do the same and write to their own friends.
"Speak up and get help" was the key message in those letters. Their social media posts read, "A pandemic like COVID-19 brought about not only a physical health crisis but also a mental health crisis. Many people fell into depression during this time. My letter is for those friends of mine who are suffering from depression, friends who have lost their will to live. It is important that we support and look after each other. So if you can, write a letter to your friend on this Friendship Day and let him know that you're there to support him."
Tawhida Shiropa, founder and CEO of Moner Bondhu, further explained the intent behind launching the campaign. "Moner Bondhu is a true friend to everyone. Even before the pandemic, Moner Bondhu has been relentlessly working to address mental health challenges and raise awareness on the importance of mental wellbeing. Through this letter-writing campaign, our writers, actors and social media influencers have teamed up with Moner Bondhu and called for better attention to mental health issues. Psychologists and counsellors from Moner Bondhu also added their voices and took part in writing letters. At the time of a raging pandemic, such joint initiatives can help to overcome emotional distress and bring positivity in the lives of our friends."
Every year, Friendship Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August. This year it was on August 1. Due to COVID-19, the day is being celebrated through various events on social media.