Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, who herself battled chronic depression, on Monday said that stigma attached to mental ailments is the main reason why the society is struggling to address the problem.
Speaking at the launch of a nationwide campaign to bring awareness about psychological disorders, on World Mental Health Day, the Bollywood actress said: “The day we together manage to tide over it and bring awareness, we will "win this battle,.”
"It is important to realise that the kind of society we live in today, we have become very competitive, and drilled into it, which is a good thing, but, I also think, we have become a little less sensitive to people around us...No one should feel that they do not belong to society," she said.
Sharing her personal struggle with depression, the 30-year-old actress broke down during the function, and said, it is important that there is a supporting ecosystem of family and friends that allows the suffering person to cope with the disorder with hope and dignity.
"When I shared my story first, I did not feel any stigma or shame attached to it. And, the reason I came out in the open about it was because I just did not want to feel what I was feeling, I did not let depression to get the better of me," she said.
"So, I think the root cause is stigma. And the day we as a society can together get over that stigma and bring awareness about mental health issues, we will win this battle," she added.
The campaign has been jointly launched by Indian Psychiatric Society, Indian Medical Association and Deepika's Bengaluru-based non-profit foundation, the Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), under which they would develop outreach programmes to highlight the urgent mental health challenges that India faces.
Deepika, who is the founder of TLLLF and recently had also become the brand ambassador of the Indian Psychiatric Society, said the campaign was dedicated to all those people who have survived mental illness.
Asked if social media was creating psychological pressure on celebrities, she said, "It is important to nurture, nourish and protect ourselves...And, I wouldn't share what I do about it, as it depends on person to person. But, as my father told me, 'focus on thing in your control and not fret over things which are out of your control'."
A special video and poster campaign, "#DobaraPoocho" (ask again) was also unveiled on the occasion. "We decided to be part of the campaign so we have volunteered and given our support. Deepika could have kept it all to herself, but she shared her struggle and turned it into a movement," CEO, McCann Worldgroup India, Prasoon Joshi said.
India is home to the largest number of mental health patients in the world with at least 50 million Indians estimated to be undergoing depression at any one point in time, according to the Society's President Dr G Prasad Rao.
However, it is said that India is short of health professionals to address mental issues. There are 3,800 psychiatrists, 898 clinical psychologists, 850 psychiatric social workers and 1,500 psychiatric nurses nationwide, according to the latest report available.
(With Agencies input)