The Indian government estimates that 6-7% of the population lives with major to minor mental health concerns. That’s approximately 70 million Indians, and this number is increasing every year. Despite the large number of people who require mental health attention, India only has 3,500 trained psychiatrists and even fewer psychologists. What’s worse is that stigma and discrimination faced by these people and their families prevent them from seeking guidance.
Founded by Deepika Padukone, who was diagnosed with depression during the peak of her career, the Live Love Laugh Foundation hopes to change this. She decided to come out and speak about her own personal struggle to encourage people to come out and openly talk about mental health/depression. She subsequently focused her energies on creating this unique foundation.
The foundation seeks to champion the cause of mental health in India, with a focus on depression in particular. Besides spreading awareness, it also aims to support and carry out various on-ground activities – training GPs, creating a national database of mental healthcare professionals for easy access, developing help-lines with actual health-care professionals, furthering the cause through fundraising, partnering with other organisations and NGOs and establishing strong links with reputed institutes such as NIMHANS and TISS. The organisation will also associate and collaborate with other NGOs in the mental health space for on-ground programmes and projects, and fund and support research and data collection on mental health. Another focus area would be granting scholarships and other support to research associates.
Leveraging the voice of the founder, the foundation aims to create visibility and awareness via digital and traditional media channels to take the message to a larger population. The organisation also aims to build a repository of content on mental health while being a definitive go-to source for people with mental health concerns, caregivers and even mental healthcare professionals.
Deepika Padukone’s message
It all began on 15th February, 2014. I woke up that morning 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 was happening to me. Waking up every morning had become a struggle. It was clearly the toughest year of my life. I was suffering from Anxiety and Depression.
It was my parents’ love and support that encouraged me through those dark days and their advice of seeking professional help at the time, paid off.
As I began to read about and understand more about depression, I realized that there were millions of others like me. In fact, 1 out of every 4 people will experience anxiety and depression during the course of their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, this IS the next big epidemic to hit the world! However, most people DO NOT seek help because society has stigmatised depression such that most people do not reveal the agony they themselves or their loved ones are going through for fear of being branded as weak or mad.
So on New Year’s Day 2015, I decided to take my struggle with anxiety and depression to the world with the hope that this would encourage others like me to break through the stigma, come out and seek help. Six months later with the help of Anna Chandy, Dr.Shyam Bhat, Anirban Blah, Nina Nair and Aashu Calapa, we set up – The Live Love Laugh Foundation.
Over the next few years, The Live Love Laugh Foundation will focus on
Increasing awareness of mental health issues
Reducing the stigma around mental health
Work & collaborate with other NGOs in the field of mental health
Encourage research that would help design local solutions
I request you to support me in this endeavor and contribute to The Live Love Laugh Foundation. Every Rupee you contribute will help us in furthering the cause of Mental Health in India.
Walk with me on this journey so that for more and more people afflicted with depression, in Stephen Fry’s words:
“It will be sunny one day…”
Anna has more than 18 years of experience in development work, counselling, coaching and mentoring. Anna is the first Certified Transactional Analyst from Asia accredited by the International Transactional Analysis Association with a specialization in Counselling. She is certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming and Art Therapy. She has a private practice and works with organisations too.
Anirban Das Blah
Anirban is the founder and Managing Director of CAA KWAN. Having played a leadership role in the development of India’s foremost entertainment companies, he was listed as one of India’s most influential thought leaders by Hindustan Times.
Nina has about 30 years of work experience in teaching, learning and development, human resources and organisation development. She has played an eclectic mix of roles – from being a high school teacher, an entrepreneur, trainer and head of HR. She is currently VP & Head HRD (India & LatAm at (24)7 Inc.
Dr. Shyam Bhat
Dr Shyam K Bhat MD is a Psychiatrist, and physician, with postgraduate training and Board certifications in Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, and Psychosomatic Medicine. He has over 20 years of experience and has a special interest in an integration of eastern and western methods of healing.
The journey so far in creating mental health awareness
We’ve come a long way in helping people deal with mental health concerns and creating awareness around the same. We thank the people involved in The Live Love Laugh Foundation and its mission. You have played your bit in making India more sensitive to mental health concerns and have been an integral part of helping those in need of mental health assistance, support and guidance. Let this be a milestone in our journey together.
Here is a glimpse of our achievements over the past year.
Annual Report 2015-2016