Initiatives taken by Deepika Padukone toward betterment of mental health
Mental health was never given much importance before, but now thankfully, it has become a significant talking point. It's because of celebrities like Deepika Padukone who have opened up about depression, and have encouraged others to do the same. And, not just discussing, she has also launched many initiatives like her first audio festival on Clubhouse, Care Package, which laid emphasis on mental health.
Care Package, hosted on the social media app, conducted conversations around care and well-being of mental health. Curated by Padukone, whose mere presence attracted 8,000 users at one time leading to severs crashing, the event had her talking about what motivates her daily, and how she remains "mindful and present." The actress also noted that opening up about her depression helped her immensely.
Beginning with My Relationship with Self-care, the first segment's speakers were Padukone, Aarthi Ramamurthy, Raghava KK and Sriram Krishnan. The next was Breathe, By The Artidote and its speaker was Jovanny Varela. Padukone, Jay Shetty, Radhi Devlukia, Krishnan and Ramamurthy finished the session with Love and Care - How is it different? Singer Prateek Kuhad brought down the curtains on the event.
The Cocktail actress has been on the forefront of helping COVID-19 warriors like the doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers, police, etc. overcome stress and anxiety during the pandemic. For this, she announced a program titled Frontline Assist on Instagram, where her image read, "Under the program, LiveLoveLaugh will support Sangath's dedicated COVID-19 wellbeing centre with sale proceeds from The Deepika Padukone Closet."
For this mission, her NGO Live Love Laugh joined hands with another NGO called Sangath, and together they would provide "community support via listening circles, free tele-counseling and mental health self-care resources." A helpline number was also given for the need of any counseling.
In 2016, Padukone's Foundation had launched You Are Not Alone. This program focused on the mental health of teachers and high school students, and included a session for students, in which talks were given to understand depression and encourage self-help. Sessions were conducted for school authorities that would help them better identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety in students, and guide them accordingly.
"We believe that schools can be the first line of defense for emotional and mental health disorders in our youth. We could also help connect the schools to counseling organizations and independent counsellors if they need such help," the 35-year-old had said then.
Padukone started opening up about her depression phase in 2015, which had started a year before. While speaking to Hindustan Times, the actress-producer revealed that she felt different one morning, and "felt a strange emptiness in my stomach." In that year, Padukone founded the Live Love Laugh Foundation — "an NGO working to reduce the stigma around mental health and spread awareness about it."
As support, the NGO provides training sessions and lecture series about mental health from "some of the best known thinkers and achievers." During the launch, she had said, "I know in the current scenario, we lead stressful lives but you have to keep reminding yourself that it is important to live, love and laugh. After all that is what life is all about."
Her dedication and leadership toward making mental health an important discussion has been appreciated by all, her fans and critics. The Piku actress has even received the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in 2020 for her contribution in spreading awareness about mental health.