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Deepika Padukone talks mental health at WEF, says everything was perfect in her life when she suffered from depression

The 'Padmaavat' star said that mental illness happened to her when she least expected it.

PTI|
Last Updated: Jan 22, 2020, 11.52 AM IST
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My mother first recognised the signs of depression in me: Deepika Padukone talks about her mental health journey, at WEF
My mother first recognised the signs of depression in me: Deepika Padukone talks about her mental health journey, at WEF
DAVOS: Actress Deepika Padukone on Tuesday said she was hit with mental illness when she had least expected it as she was going strong professionally with her movies doing well and was also in an amazing relationship.

Speaking here at the WEF 2020, the cine star said she had to lie for a long time when people asked her a simple question like 'how are you doing?' and she had to reply 'good'.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said people with mental illness not only face stigma and discrimination but there is also not enough healthcare facilities for them.

For every million people in India, there are only three psychiatrists. And for those who experience mental ill health, there is a stigma that often prevents them from seeking help.

Crystal Awardee Padukone was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2014. The following year, she set up the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation to bring hope to those in India who are faced with stress, depression and anxiety.

PTI
​Deepika Padukone poses with her Crytal Award at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020, in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.​
Deepika Padukone poses with her Crytal Award at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020, in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

"Mental illness happened to me when I had least expected it. I was at a professional high, my movies were doing great and I was in an amazing relationship. Everything was going just perfect.

"One morning when I woke up and I felt all was well, I fainted. Luckily the house help came and saw me on the floor. I was taken to a doctor and I was told it was nothing and probably just some blood pressure fluctuation or something like physical tiredness," she recalled.

"Those were the first physical signs. For a long time, I just felt like sleeping, not going out, not meeting people.

"Luckily, my mother had come to my place and when my parents were packing, I just started crying. She asked me what was it and I had no answer. At that time, my mother told me that I probably needed professional help and that's how I began consulting a psychiatrist," the Bollywood star said.

She said she and her family initially didn't feel like telling everyone and letting media know about it or seeing me outside a psychiatric clinic.

"After I was diagnosed with a clinical depression regarding my mental health, I had to even lie when someone asked me how was I doing. I would say, I'm great, though I was actually terrible," she said.

Padukone said it is equally important to take care of our emotional and mental health, as is the case with our physical health.


"As I began on my path of recovery, I also understood the stigma attached with the mental health and the need to go public with it.

"Imagine what would have happened, if my mother had not said that I should a professional help for my problem," she said.

"I felt that I should do something to help others with their signs and symptoms and that was the reason for going public with my illness and then setting up the Live Love Laugh foundation," she said.

She said youth needs to be more aware about mental illness and the signs and symptoms.

"Are you feeling sadness and a low for a long period of time? You need to understand sadness is transient and depression is for a long period of time.
"It is very important to share with somebody around you about how you are feeling. It is also important that the people around you don't dismiss it as attention-seeking or some small thing. It is important for caregivers to encourage people to seek help," she noted.

Further, Padukone said that in our country, parents are not comfortable with taking their children for professional help.

"At times, it is other way round too when parents want to take, but children do not want to seek medical help or consultation," she added.

"I want every person experiencing mental illnesses to know that you are not alone - because there are no obvious physical symptoms. You feel like you are the only one going though this, and it comes with a lot of guilt," Padukone said.


For humanity, she said that people must realise that there are some fundamental things that need to change such as a notion that men are not supposed to have mental illness.

Ghebreyesus said the WHO would like to work with Padukone and her foundation.

To her request for helping get mental health included as a part of the sustainable development goals, he assured that the entire UN system would work for that.

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