Deepika working for awareness of mental illness


MUMBAI: The Bollywood diva, Deepika Padukone, has founded ‘Live Laugh Love Foundation’ to create awareness regarding mental illness. The Bollywood actress has recently been in constant spotlight for her role in Padmaavat and a Hollywood movie xXx: Return of Xander Cage opposite Vin Diesel.
Earlier this week, Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone called for elaborate steps by Indians to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. “We have a long way to go,” said Deepika Padukone, who went public about her struggle with depression in 2015 and won praise for her campaign to initiate a public discourse on mental health in a country that has traditionally considered such illnesses taboo.
On the same event were launched the results of a survey that was conducted in eight Indian cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, which showed nearly half of Indians held prejudices against people with mental illnesses. Three out of five of the 3,556 people interviewed for the study referred to the mentally ill using terms like “retard”, “crazy”, or “stupid”. While a little more than half expressed some fear towards mentally unhealthy people – with many preferring they be ostracised – only three-fourths showed sympathy. Fifty-one percent said they would seek professional help if they suffered from a mental illness, signaling a shift in the fear and shame usually attached with it in the region.
“What gives us immense satisfaction is… knowing that the stigma built around mental illness over the years is now slowly reducing,” commented Deepika Padukone at the event, while noting, “We have come a long way in the last three years, there is increased… awareness, but I still think we have a long way to go.”
More than 50 million Indians suffered from depression and over 30 million from anxiety disorders in 2015, a World Health Organization (WHO) study released last year said.
In December, India’s president warned that the country of 1.3 billion people faces “a possible mental health epidemic” while releasing a report that found 10 percent Indians suffered from at least one mental illness. India has the highest number of suicides in South Asia after Sri Lanka, according to the WHO.
Deepika also said, “(We need) to contribute towards building a more caring and inclusive society where those suffering from mental illnesses have a society that they can trust and rely on.” “India needs it and the world needs it now more than ever before,” she added.