The Project star Nazeem Hussain's secret Covid heartbreak

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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The Project star Nazeem Hussain has shared his own personal heartbreak during the Covid pandemic, revealing his father passed away from the virus two months ago.

The 36-year-old comedian opened up about his loss — and the impact on his mental health — on Monday morning's episode of the podcast, Mind Time.

The Projects hosts Peter van Onselen, Peter Helliar, Lisa Wilkinson with Nazeem Hussain. Photo: Channel 10.
The Project star Nazeem Hussain has opene up about the death of his father from Covid. Photo: Channel 10.

The Project star Nazeem: 'My dad died from Covid'

Nazeem told host, actor Amy Ruffle that his dad's death had taken a huge emotional toll that was only deepened by the ongoing lockdown in his home city of Melbourne.

"I've felt the weight of deteriorating mental health," he said. "A death in the family... my father passed away less than two months ago from Covid. I guess the duration of lockdown and kind of having to trudge through that, it just starts to get to you at a point."

The former I'm A Celebrity contestant explained that the omnipresent topic of the pandemic is a 'constant reminder' of his father's passing, causing him to feel 'exhausted'.

"It's quite triggering to have to constantly think about the passing of someone near and dear to me," he said.

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Nazeem Hussain attends the 2019 AACTA Awards Presented by Foxtel at The Star on December 04, 2019 in Sydney, Australia
Nazeem at the 2019 AACTA Awards. Photo: Getty Images.

'Definitely felt rage'

Nazeem revealed that since losing his dad — who is believed to have been living in Sri Lanka — he took people's opinions on Covid more personally.

"My dad passing away has personalised the whole thing... it's hard to look at it in any other way," he said.

He admitted that 'irresponsible' anti-vaxx, anti-lockdown and Covid-denying discussions online have left him angry and tempted to respond.

"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 sacrifice for a greater good... Those things have started to get to me much more than they ever have.

"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 and people who I know online saying irresponsible things."

Nazeem, who created the SBS comedy Legally Brown, also opened up about his decision to keep this personal news a secret despite being open about his private life in earlier instances.

"I'm the sort of person who verbalises everything except for this, I've never actually spoken about my dad passing from Covid because I feel that talking about it politicises my dad's passing because covid is very political."

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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