Nazeem Hussain has broken his silence about the tragic death of his father from Covid-19 and why he kept quiet about his personal anguish for the last two months.
The Australian comedian and The Project panelist was discussing the impact Melbourne’s sixth lockdown in 18 months has recently had on his mental health when he touched on the heartbreaking loss of his dad Shereen, who died in Sri Lanka on August 16.
He described the tragedy to actress Amy Ruffle for her Mind Time podcast as the straw that ‘almost’ broke the camel’s back which left him exhausted.
Reading online comments from Covid deniers about the virus added to his pain.
‘I’m healthy enough mentally to get with life but I’ve felt the weight of a deteriorating mental health,’ Hussain admitted on the podcast, which was launched on Sunday.
Nazeem Hussain (right) is mourning the recent death of his father Shereen (left)
‘A death in the family, I guess the duration of lockdown and kind of having to trudge through that. It just starts to get to you at a point.’
‘Probably since my father’s passing, just hearing and seeing people talk about vaccination and just the small things we miss out on as a result of lockdown, and making this whole pandemic about the individual as opposed to it being about the community or a greater good … Those things have started to get to me much more than they ever have.’
Hussain also admitted the loss of his father ignited a sudden urge to react to Covid deniers making claims online.
‘I’m not normally the sort of person that feels confrontational, but I’ve felt more confrontational online than I’ve ever felt before. I haven’t acted on those impulses, but I’ve definitely felt rage towards comments online saying irresponsible things,’ he said.
‘And then seeing some of the effects. I’ve seen people that have been vaccine hesitant or maybe anti-vaxxers end up in ICU and gone on their Facebook pages and seen comments from others encouraging not to take the vaccine.’
‘Those sorts of things have occupied my mind a lot and it’s been the result of my exhaustion of late.’
Nazeem Hussain (pictured with his sister Azmeena) said his father’s recent death left him mentally exhausted
Hussain added his father’s death has ‘personalised’ the pandemic for him.
‘Hearing news stories for me feels very personal, it’s hard to look at it any other way,’ he said.
‘When you’re dealing with grief, things remind you of that person.’
‘People have the strongest of opinions about Covid and they’re not always selfless, they’re very ugly, some people deny the existence of it.
‘It’s quite triggering to have to constantly think about the passing of someone near and dear to me.’
Hussain revealed his father had died in a brief Facebook post in August.
‘He had a generous, big heart, and warm, loving personality and sense of humour. We miss him lots. Please remember him in your prayers,’ he wrote at the time.
He had previously spoken how his parents met and married in London before moving to Australia to raise a family.
‘My mum, Mumtaz (Hamid), met my dad, Shereen, in London. He had studied engineering and after they married his work took them to Melbourne in the late 1970s,’ Hussain told the Sun Herald’s Sunday Life magazine in 2020.
‘I was six when he returned to Sri Lanka. It wasn’t easy for a young kid to live through a separation and divorce. But my sisters, Aiesha and Azmeena, my mum and I found strength in each other and became a team.’
Nazeem Hussain (pictured during a recent appearance on The Project) has revealed for the first time that his late father died from Covid
The comedian (pictured left as boy) described his late father (right) as generous with a big heart, warm, loving personality and sense of humour
Hussein quit his day job as a tax consultant in 2013 to produce his first television show Legally Brown.
The SBS program was a huge hit and received a Logie nomination for Most Outstanding Comedy before Hussain went on to star in Channel Seven’s Orange Is The New Brown.
He had his own Netflix special Nazeem Hussain: Public Frenemy and now regularly appears on The Project as a panelist.
Melbourne, which currently holds the record as the world’s most locked down city during the pandemic will finally be lifted from stay at home orders at 11.59pm Thursday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday.
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Nazeem Hussain spoke about the family tragedy with Amy Ruffle (pictured) for her latest Mind Time podcast, which was launched on Sunday