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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Inspiration- Deepika's foundation Live Love Laugh, which will deal with the issue of mental illness


People think depression is sadness or constant crying. Yes, it is! But sometimes depression also manifests as anger and frustration. Sometimes it is a feeling of constantly being numb. Depression is waking up in the morning and going back to bed again because the day ahead seems empty and meaningless.Why would someone who has everything be unhappy? – the question that was on everybody’s mind when Deepika Padukone revealed that she had suffered from about of depression during an interview with Barkha Dutt last year. A young popular actor with a string of blockbuster movies living a life of luxury seemed an antithesis of what a depressed person should be. So the article written by Deepika about her experience and her television interview was met with disbelief from some quarters and even accusations of her resorting to promotional gimmicks for a movie.

But Deepika was committed to this cause and founded the Bengaluru-based Live, love, Laugh Foundation on October 10 (World Mental Health day) 2015, with her counsellor Anna Chandy and her psychiatrist Dr Shyam Bhat along with Anirban Das and Nina Nair on board as trustees.Deepika told YourStory, “The Foundation and the cause we are championing are deeply personal to me. When we set up the Foundation, our intention was to reduce the stigma, spread awareness and change the way we look at Mental Health. I am happy to have made, what I believe is, some early but significant interventions. The setting up of our website with important mental health information, the awareness programmes we have launched for schools, and the sensitisation programme for general physicians are some of the key initiatives that we’ve undertaken over the past several months.”

Anna adds, “There is still a huge stigma attached to mental illness and people desperately hide a family member’s depression or bipolar disorder under a shroud of secrecy. We need to be able to normalise and speak about this topic in our living rooms, the way we would about physical illnesses like viral fever or diabetes.”
Why the urgency?
According to the World Health Organisation, India is the most depressed country in the world, with one in 10 Indians said to be depressed, the statistics point to an impending epidemic. We also have the highest suicide rate with over one lakh Indians on an average committing suicide every year. Today, 50 percent of India’s population is below the age of 25, and it has been estimated that by the year 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, one of the youngest in the world, making the country especially vulnerable.
Deepika agrees, “Mental Health has assumed the scale of an epidemic and we truly need to work together to bring psychiatric disorders out of the shadows and into the light. We are seeing several individuals and organisations step forward to support our efforts. There is so much to do and so many more people who need help to cope with their challenges. We look forward to working together in the mission to make Mental Health a national priority!”
“It was very brave of Deepika to come out and speak about something so intensely personal. There were days when she would cry in her vanity van during shoot breaks. She did not want to step out of her home, but was dedicated to keeping up with her work and social commitments. An early intervention helped her recover fast. She wants to ensure that by talking about her struggles and through work done by the foundation, she can reach out to people in similar situations,” shares Anna.
How can the Live Love Laugh Foundation help?

Earlier this year, the Foundation had also launched a campaign called You Are Not Alone,which is focussed on educating high school students and teachers on stress, anxiety, and depression. Adolescents are a high-risk segment and teachers can play a pivotal role in assessing whether a student needs help. The Foundation plans to cover more than 500 schools around the country this year and will include separate sessions for students and teachers.....

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