Deepika Padukone is now leading the conversation on raising awareness about mental health in India. She founded The Live Love Laugh Foundation this year to share stories and seek help about stress, anxiety and depression. On October 10, the foundation launched a short video to spark off the #DobaraPoocho campaign across India. In just four minutes, the heart-touching video sends across a simple message.
The emotional ad highlights how a gesture as simple as asking someone to talk about what is bothering them, and then listening, unquestioningly, could go a long way to save a life. It asks us to observe the people close to us, watch them for signs of unusual behaviour. “The truest form of care is when you can be there for the ones you love in their darkest hour,” Padukone tweeted on the day of the launch.
In 2015, Padukone had opened up to the public about her phase of depression, during which she said she felt “low, empty and directionless”. She revealed that her parents' support helped her get out of the dark phase.
Depression is more than just general bouts of sadness—it is in fact a mental health condition. In India, the general perception is that only extreme disorders such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer's count as mental illness. This has pushed depression and anxiety out of the conversation, leading to a lack of awareness and general misunderstanding.
“Stigma attached to mental ailments is the main reason why the society is struggling to address the problem, and the day we manage to tide over it together and bring awareness, we will win this battle,” Padukone had said during the launch in an emotional speech. “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.”
Depression is largely undiagnosed and widely prevalent across the world. One in every five people could be suffering from a mental health condition. The World Health Organisation had reported that in 2011, India had one of the highest rates of depression. A high suicide rate also corresponds to an increased prevalence of depression, stress and anxiety.