Live, Love, Laugh: A message from Deepika Padukone
Editor's note: Deepika shared the message below to be read at the Out of the Shadows event, which aims to make mental health a global development priority. We have reposted the message in full below.
Let me begin by saying how deeply sorry I am that I couldn't make it today. As you know, Mental Health is a cause very close to my heart and it would have meant so much to me to be here in person.
I would like to congratulate the World Bank and the World Health Organisation for taking the initiative to organise this conference `Out of the Shadows – Making mental health a global development priority.’
In February of 2014, I woke up one morning with a sick, pit-ish feeling in my stomach. I felt low, empty and directionless. I couldn't understand what was happening to me. Waking up every morning was becoming a struggle.
It was only after I started seeing a counsellor that I realized I was suffering from anxiety and depression. It took a lot of convincing from my parents, to see a psychiatrist, and from then on it was a combination of counselling and medication over a couple of months that helped me recover. 2014 was the toughest year of my life!
As I began to read about and understand my condition, I realized that there were millions of people just like me. The WHO estimates that 350-400 million people across the world suffer from a range of Mental Health issues.
So on New Year’s Day 2015 I decided to take my struggle to the world with the hope that this would encourage others like me to break through the stigma and reach out for help.
In March 2015, I made a decision to set up a foundation that would work towards spreading awareness, reducing the stigma and changing the way the world looks at Mental Health.
On October 10th, World Mental Health Day, we launched The Live Love Laugh Foundation.
This year The Live Love Laugh Foundations main focus is on conducting awareness programs in schools, creating a sensitization program for general physicians and launching a public media campaign on mental health.
Mental Health Issues are now assuming the scale of an epidemic and we truly need to work together to bring mental health out of the shadows and into the light and make it an urgent priority for governments across the world!
I hope very much that together we succeed in this critical mission of making mental health a global priority!
Follow Deepika Padukone on Twitter @DeepikaPadukone