Actor Deepika Padukone reminded the world that ‘depression and anxiety are like any other illness and are treatable’, as she was honoured with the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum annual meeting 2020 on Monday.
She stated that one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds and that the global economy bears an impact worth a trillion dollars due to illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
“My love-hate relationship with the illness has taught me to be patient, that you are not alone and most importantly, that there is hope,” Deepika said.
The actor shared how she clearly remembers waking up with a hollow feeling in her stomach on February 15, 2014 and said, “I felt empty and directionless, I had become irritable and for someone who loves to multitask, making decisions suddenly felt like a burden. I would cry endlessly. Waking up every morning had become a struggle; I was exhausted and I often thought of giving up.”
Recalling her own experience, the actor said that acceptance is the first step towards recovery. And seeing the lack of it, coupled with stigma and poor awareness associated with mental illness motivated her to publicly share her experience of dealing with anxiety and depression.
It also led her to set up the Bengaluru-based Live Love Laugh Foundation in 2015 with the aim to help those struggling with mental health issues. The Chhapaak actor and producer said that to “live, love, and laugh is her personal philosophy towards life as well”.
Deepika who had opened her wardrobe for sale on World Mental Health Day last year to fund the Foundation highlighted some of its key achievements at the annual meet.
The Foundation has conducted awareness programmes for over 150,000 adolescents and 16,000 teachers in schools across 11 Indian cities and funded free psychiatric treatment in low income communities, among others.
The first Bollywood actor to speak up on mental health, Deepika closed her speech quoting Martin Luther King, “Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.”