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Live Love Laugh- Deepika Padukone’s organisation spells the three magical words to happiness.
The Live Love Laugh Foundation is Deepika’s own fight against depression and other mental disorders that clench millions of people in India and are a growing concern in the health sector. The website of Live Love Laugh tells us how there is a dearth of psychiatrists and psychologists in India, compared to a glaring 6-7% population suffering from mental health issues. In acceptance of this lack, the foundation is an earnest endeavour to provide an interactive space that offers help, guidance, fosters knowledge and research, and brings patients and health care professionals together to counter mental health disorders effectively. The organisation displays a zest for spreading awareness regarding depression, stress, anxiety and other disorders- tackling the social stigmatisation attached to mental illnesses, it attacks the devil of ostracisation through rationality.
Deepika, an Indian woman achiever who came out to the public and shared her story of depression, believes in removing the stigma that surrounds mental ailments. In India, a massive percentage of patients go undiagnosed- the taboo of being depressed hinders many from seeking professional help. Mental illnesses have mostly been brushed under the carpet, owing to how they have assumed connotations of insanity. Women, who have always been doubly oppressed, instantly beget the tag of hysteria or melodrama if they are victims of such disorders. They face the eye of judgement and condescension everywhere around them which has roots in the society’s expectations from a woman and how mental disorders render her incapable of being “useful” to the society.
A depressed woman becomes a bane, a burden, a spoilt rebel, a dysfunctional lump that needs to be set right.
Meera(name changed) recollects how living in a society became hell for her family during the time she was depressed. She was constantly questioned about her disease and was faced with baseless rumours of her numerous affairs that had supposedly caused strained family relationships that led to her depression. A twenty-two years old woman in Delhi narrates her treatment by nurses in a hospital where she was admitted after she overdosed on her medication, “They told me that women today are characterless and disobedient and want everything their way. All this leads to suicide cases among women.” In a social outlook that fails to understand the rationale behind depression, the creation of well-informed awareness platforms and campaigns is the point to start at.
The Live Love Laugh Foundation tries to immaculately, and well within possibility, sort mental disorders and creates divisions to further develop on their details and cures. Foregrounding the reasons of stress, anxiety, depression and related disorders, Live Love Laugh provides patients with help-lines to get in touch with mental health professionals who can help them. The organisation ventures to develop a national database of medical heath care professionals that are linked to it and are made accessible to the people who seek help from the organisation. The choice of the therapist lies on the patient herself, the organisation only provides accessibility to professional help. The website of the organisation allows professionals to become a part of this initiative by filling a form and helps patients locate them area-wise or through their names.
In order to create this link between health-care professionals and mental disorder patients, Live Love Laugh also has help-lines which bring you into contact with these professionals. The TISS iCALL is one help-line that the organisation provides. The organisation is also establishing links with mental health institutions like NIMHANS, and TISS. The fundraising activities are intended to cater to scholarships for research associates in the field of mental health. The funds are also provided to help with creating research and data collection on mental health.
The aim is to create a storehouse of information that directs the strategies and is useful in spreading awareness, shunning stigmas and understanding the mental health issues in their socio-cultural specificity.
The Live Love Laugh Foundation has Anna Chandy, Anirban Das Blah, Nina Nair and Dr.Shyam Bhat as its trustees. Anna has specialisation in Counselling and is certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming and Art Therapy. Anirban has played leadership roles in various entertainment companies and featured in Hindustan Times’ list of India’s most influential thought leaders. Nina is also an inspiring Indian woman entrepreneur with decades of experience in teaching, learning, organisational development and human resource development. Dr Shyam Bhat is a psychiatrist and a physician with 20 years of experience and a special bent towards eastern and western forms of healing.
This organisation is a sincere effort by a woman who felt the tragedy of hopelessness and monotony in her life. Deepika is an inspirational woman who went beyond her personal grievance to address an issue that has always been hushed despite the rising number of people affected by it. The Live Love Laugh Foundation is a forum that stands as an example on which other networks, more elaborate, more intricate, should be built so that help reaches every level where it is due.