Deepika Padukone Bats For Raising Mental Health Awareness

March 24, 2018

Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone, who had open up about her struggle with depression in 2015, has ever worked towards shattering the stigma around mental illness. The Padmaavat star and founder of The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) unveiled a landmark report on public awareness towards mental health in the country.

The organization launched the result of a survey, that was conducted in eight Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi, revealed around 50% Indians held discrimination against people with mental illness.

Speaking at the launch in New Delhi, she said, “This research initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to build a better understanding about mental health in our country. Our research shows that only over a quarter of the respondents are willing to be supportive in many aspects, while the remaining are either judgmental or fearful of those affected with mental illness. This is an extremely unfortunate situation for us to be in. It is absolutely critical that we as a society work together towards increasing awareness, reducing stigma and normalizing the need to seek support for mental illness.”

“What gives us immense satisfaction is… knowing that the stigma built around mental illness over the years is now slowly reducing. “We have come a long way in the last three years, there is increased… awareness, but I still think we have a long way to go,” she further added.

A report ‘How India Perceives Mental Health’ to observe the public perception of mental health across 8 cities in India has revealed that 87% of respondents correlate mental illness with severe disorders such as schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disord and their symptoms.

The high pervasiveness of stigma with 47% of people using the word “retard” to express the people with mental illness. Further, 60% of respondents believe that people with mental illness “should have their own groups to avoid contaminating healthy people” and 68% believe that they “should not be given any responsibility.” 60% believe that mental illness is caused by a “lack of self-discipline and willpower”.

While 51% believe that they would seek professional help if they suffered from a mental illness, indicating stay away from them in order to fear and shame usually attached in India.

By: Anurag Panchal

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