How Deepika Padukone’s Foundation TLLLF Support Mental Wellness
Founded by Deepika Padukone, who was diagnosed with depression during the peak of her career, The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) seeks to champion the cause of mental health in India, with a focus on depression in particular.
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When we started The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) two years ago, our focus was to commence a conversation in Mental Health, and specifically on depression. Our founder, Deepika Padukone, who is an influencer in Indian society, shared her struggle openly in spite of the stigma. This triggered the beginning of a movement with several sufferers gaining the courage to speak up openly, about themselves. In India, this “opening up” on mental health issues and illness is radical and essential as earlier it which was stigmatised. Since we are a (collective) culture where societal norms are governed by the collective, encouraging open discussion and minimising stigma promotes a mentally healthy society which is inclusive.
Though mental health issues in children, teenagers, and adults are now spoken about and discussed, the fact that the working population too suffers from this condition is not widely recognized. According to ASSOCHAM, around 42.5% of employees in India are depressed. Mental health problems among employees are largely ignored because these disorders tend to be hidden amidst the daily bustle at work. People may also be reluctant to seek support for fear of facing stigma or of getting ousted from the job.
On this World Mental Health Day and beyond, this aspect and target group needs our attention. There are studies to prove that more accepting workplaces have happier employees with better productivity. However, not a lot of workplaces are at all accommodating. Business and corporates should support mental healthcare programs and incorporate best practices into their company policies, including special time-off for anyone who is suffering to cope with the situation. There needs to be acceptance of this condition and a supportive environment at the workplace.
TLLLF looks forward to continuing to engage stakeholders in building greater awareness on the topic and bringing down the societal barriers that exist around the issue. For scalability I think it is essential to partner with government for the delivery of our programs, and for that to take place, more and more people from both rural and urban India need to speak up about the difficulties (such as not being able to get jobs, being ostracised, being ridiculed and labelled as lazy or dysfunctional) when they open up about their conditions.
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