When Deepika Padukone first spoke concerning her struggles with depression and mental state in 2015, she shocked a nation that wasn't used to its celebrities being so vocal concerning their vulnerabilities and failings. Today, trying back, the Padmavat star says, she has no regrets for gap up. “I never thought about what people are going to consider me, can I be offered films or whether it'll have an effect on my popularity,” she aforesaid she said while releasing a survey titled ‘How India perceives mental health’ in the capital on March 24.
Published by the Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), that she supported in 2015 to champion the cause for mental health in India, the survey disclosed that 47% of the 3,500 respondents in 8 cities across India use the word “retard” to explain folks with mental illness. A steep 60% believed that individuals with mental health“ should have their own teams to avoid contaminating healthy people”.
“With the help of the foundation, we want like to alter the narrative around mental health in India. Why only Bollywood? We want everybody in influential positions in the country to speak out about these issues,” Deepika Padukone said.
But did she never worry concerning how her audience, or maybe Bollywood, would understand her if she talked concerning depression? “Now that you’re asking me perhaps I should have since I simply delivered a 300-crore hit (Padmavati). But no, I never thought about what people will think of me, or how it would affect my work or if I would be offered any films. None of these thoughts ever crossed my mind,” she said.
“I was only thinking about how I felt about the issue: There was a lot of stigmas attached to it. I thought if I could save even one life by sharing my story, Everything I set to do would make sense. And today, when I see the kind of impact we’ve had in the lives of thousands of people, it is very gratifying,” Deepika added.
The survey, a five-month research project commissioned in July 2017, covered more than 3,500 Indians across eight cities of India and aims to remove the stigma that is attached to mental health in India.
“Considering how deep-seated this issue is, in terms of the stigma connected to that, the reluctance to seek help, or people’s perception towards those with mental state, we still have a long way to go. India must target encouraging folks to seek help,” she explains. But isn’t it true that people from Hollywood are much more open about their battles with mental issues compared to Bollywood?
“We’re assuming that there are others at people within my fraternity who have experienced it; I believe a few who have (experienced it), they’ve initiated and shared their journey and experience additionally. She aforesaid that, I do believe those who are in a position to influence others’ lives in a positive manner should use that power. I additionally feel it’s necessary to keep company with a cause that means something to you because that’s when it is organic, that’s when it is genuine. This is something I’ve experienced; I felt, which is why I talk about it. I don’t think it’s just about people coming out and speaking. And it’s not just about people in the film industry,” Deepika Padukone further explains.
She continues saying, “I think it eventually boils down to each person’s comfort level, how comfortable or confident they are about sharing their experience. I can say that it is extremely empowering once you share your journey, you kind of feel a weight off your shoulders, I mean that’s my personal experience.”
More facts and stories came out of the closet during a panel discussion on the findings, moderated by Dr Shyam Bhat MD, Trustee –TLLLF, which comprised Anna Chandy (TLLLF), Dr Soumitra Pathare (Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy at the Indian Law Society, Pune) and Siddharta Swarup (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
During the discussion, Dr. Pathare joked concerning the stigma attached to the profession of psychopathology itself. “When I told my father that I wanted to try psychopathology, he told me, ‘For once in your life do one thing sensible please!’ My mother would tell her friends that I'm doing ‘post-graduation’. Even my kids would shy away from this topic at school, telling their friends that their father does ‘international work.’ But after Deepika has come into the picture, I have become more acceptable to my family - for example, my niece and others in the family are more accepting of me because I get to meet Deepika Padukone!” said Dr. Pathare.