Deepika Padukone: “Mental health issues are largely taboo in India”

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She has been an advocate for raising awareness around the issues of mental health. Having gone through depression herself, at a time which should have been the best time of her life with her career, Deepika Padukone put pen to paper and revealed all about what she went through.

Taking over a blog post in the New York Times, the actress wrote, “I started experiencing symptoms in 2014. It was mid-February, and I had fainted after a long day of work. The next morning, I woke up with an empty feeling in my stomach and the urge to cry.”

With Padukone’s professional projects taking her to new heights, she went on to express how she’d find it difficult to get out of bed, “On paper, that should have been a great period in my life — I had just starred in four of my most memorable movies, my family was extremely supportive and I was dating the man who would later become my husband. I had no reason to feel the way I did. But I did. I was exhausted and sad all the time. If someone played a happy song to cheer me up, it only made me feel worse. Waking up every day felt like a huge endeavour.”

“Mental health issues are largely taboo in India, even though they are pervasive. Almost 57 million people across the country struggle with depression, a 2017 W.H.O report estimated. A 2016 survey commissioned by the Indian government found that 85 percent of people with common mental health problems do not receive adequate treatment for them. For a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world, a shortage of mental health professionals and a population of 1.3 billion, this is extremely worrisome,” she expressed. 

Talking about her foundation ‘Live Love Laugh’, the actress went onto to say, “Over the past four years the Live Love Laugh Foundation has worked to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness in India. We have run public health campaigns, started school programs, conducted studies, partnered with doctors and launched a mental health care project devoted to rural parts of the country.”

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