Deepika Padukone’s Foundation: Yes to Mental Health, No to Stigma
The mental health crisis in India is no news. But the stigma makes it harder to combat it.
Deepika Padukone, who was diagnosed with depression during the peak of her career, and her organisation The Live Love Laugh Foundation carried out a survey to understand public perceptions and attitudes towards mental health.
“Stigma around mental health is reducing. We believe in focusing on fewer programs and delivering a larger impact,” Deepika spoke at the event on what her foundation intends to do with the findings.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 20 per cent of Indians may suffer from depression in their lifetime.
The study titled ‘How India Perceives Mental Health’ covered 3,556 males and females in roughly equal proportions, across eight cities of the country – Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Patna, Kanpur and Pune.
Only 17 percent of people said they personally knew of someone with mental illness and only 2 percent of them admitted to suffering from it themselves.
Speaking at the event Deepika said,
Dr Soumitra Pathare, a leading psychiatrist, says we need to change the language, words we use, around mental illness.
The study revealed three broad segments of people based on their attitudes towards mental health.
Segment 1: 27 percent of the people surveyed indicated support for people perceived as having mental illness. They do not discriminate against people with mental illness and predominantly believe that it could happen to anyone.
Segment 2: 47 percent were those who indicated high judgement against the mentally ill. This is the largest segment of the general population and includes people who are relatively more aware of mental illnesses and their associated symptoms, but also display some stigma against people with mental illness.
Segment 3: 26 percent comprise a group which indicated fear of people perceived as having mental illness. This segment comprises of people who are frightened of living in the same neighbourhood as and interacting with someone suffering from mental illness.
The study reveals how awareness may have increased among Indians but the stigma against mental illnesses is still very prominent. And that is what we have to combat.
On a positive note, more people are willing to seek help.