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Deepika Padukone advocates mental health awareness in wake of Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain suicides


The actress, through her foundation Live Love Laugh, addressed the growing epidemic of depression amongst adults.

Sonal Pandya

Actress Deepika Padukone has been one of the few film celebrities in India who has been open and honest about her own fight with depression since 2014. With support from her parents, Padukone sought professional help and later set up a foundation, Live Love Laugh, in 2015 to help others with their own battles.

On her foundation's website she says, "The morning of Feb 15th, 2014, I woke up with a sick pit-ish feeling in my stomach. On one hand, I was doing extremely well professionally, but on the other, I felt low, empty and directionless. The worst part was that I couldn’t understand what happening to me. Waking up every morning had become a struggle. I was suffering from Anxiety and Depression."

The deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain in a span of four days last week has shaken the world. Both were suffering from depression.

Padukone shared a heartfelt and supportive note on her Instagram page, detailing why depression can affect anyone and what can others do to help.

The post begins by stating a shocking World Health Organization (WHO) statistic that every 40 seconds, a person commits suicide. Referring to Spade and Bourdain's suicides, the write-up makes a point clear that they "did not take their own lives. DEPRESSION did".

"Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were pioneers in their respective fields. They both carved a niche for themselves by doing the unexpected. They not only changed the world of fashion and food forever but were also loved by millions across the world. To the outside world, they seemed 'happy'. They seemingly "had it all". Then how did they "fall" into depression?

We don't ask why someone who "had it all" was detected with a fatal illness, why someone who "had it all" broke their foot or why someone who "had it all" met with an accident. Just like all other illnesses, depression does not discriminate."

In a 2015 interview with NDTV, a news channel, Padukone had spoken about the similar questions she herself dealt with, "I had won all my awards and you know all the appreciation for 2013, everything had happened and it was a great time and obviously at once one gonna (sic) think like why is she depressed, she has everything going for her."

The Live Love Laugh Foundation also addresses the stigma attached with psychiatric help which shames people into hiding their true mental state. The foundation encourages the relatives and loved ones to reach out to those who might be affected.

"The only way forward is to continuously champion the need for mental health awareness. The only way forward is we fight this together. The next time you feel something is amiss amongst family, friends or co-workers, do not hesitate to ask them if they are okay. It may seem like prodding, they may think you are being inquisitive or you many come across as pushy. Even if they do not open up, let them known that you care and that you are there for them when they are ready to open up. One act of kindness and compassion can save a life and #TogetherAgainstDepression we can make a difference," concluded the actress's post.