Culture & Lifestyle / Deepika Padukone Speaks Out On Depression & Mental Illness Awareness At The Live Love Laugh Foundation Launch

Deepika Padukone Speaks Out On Depression & Mental Illness Awareness At The Live Love Laugh Foundation Launch

Culture & Lifestyle Oct 14, 2015

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day on Octpber 10, Deepika Padukone launched her Live Love Laugh Foundation, which aims to destigmatize depression and raise awareness about mental health issues. 

Since speaking about her struggles with depression and anxiety in an interview with Barkha Dutt in March, Padukone has been one of the first actresses in Bollywood to share her story. In that interview, she maintained she wanted to raise the profile of getting diagnosed for depression and seeking help for it through her Live Love Laugh Foundation. 

At the launch of the foundation, Padukone spoke about how general the illness can be in that it doesn't only affect celebrities or artists in the limelight. 

"I don’t think mental health or illness has anything to with any specific industry. It can happen to anybody and we all have to realise that beyond just the baggage we carry of being so and so, we are all at some point stripped down to being human beings at the end of the day. In very simple terms, it can happen to anybody. It doesn’t matter what your economic status is or what your profession is," said Padukone during the press conference

Photo Credit: Bollywood Tabloid

With any discussion of a celebrity getting behind a great cause, there's the matter of privilege, which Padukone has been open about since she turned to her therapist Dr. Anna Chandy and received support from her parents, unlike many people who might not have the same access. 

The launch was attended by designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, director Kiran Rao, director Gauri Shinde, Nita Ambani, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, and many more. While most press has been focused on the lack of Bollywood presence at the event, it's a very tough and honest thing to admit you have depression which might account for many skipping the event. 

Padukone remained steadfast in the foundation's mission to raise collective consciousness around depression. "We will be launching a website today. As a foundation we have several plans. Our plans are in stages. The initial stage is to destigmatize and spread awareness. All the information will be available on our site for anyone who needs any kind of help in dealing with stress, anxiety or depression."

They've started off with a great website, that's easy to use and offers information on some of the symptoms associated with depression and mental health illnesses. The foundation has partnered up with SocialCops to create a national database of mental health professionals across India for people to reach out to. The database features a map, where people can find therapists or doctors in their neighbourhood, and medical professionals can also apply to be a part of the map. 

“If you see the numbers, they’re actually quite scary, close to 100,000 people in India have committed suicide due to mental illness since 2001. There are some studies that even claim that India has the highest depression rate in the world. And yet we only spend close to 0.6 per cent of its healthcare budget on mental healthcare,” said Prukalpa Sankar, co-founder of SocialCops.

With this initiative, the foundation and SocialCops is hoping to make that process easier for people, but India has a long way to go in adequately dealing with mental illness with its current infrastructure. There are only 4,500 psychiatrists in a country of 1.2 billion people, most of which are based in the major cities. According to Sankar, India has only one pyschiatrist to 343, 000 people, which is disheartening to see. 

For now, the Live Love Laugh Foundation and SocialCops are forging ahead in creating a safe online space for people to find mental health professionals to seek help for their problems. That is an effort worth lauding, we can only hope that it'll do more to shift perspectives on depression in India. 

Main Image Photo Credit:

Rumnique Nannar

Rumnique Nannar


Rumnique Nannar is a new journalist with a passion for all things pop culture, film, and art. Rumnique was born in London, with a predilection for devouring English chocolate with her Vogue, ANOKHI, and Glamour magazines in tow. She is currently in her Journalism Masters at UBC. Connect ...