Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone received the Crystal Award for her contribution to mental health awareness at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday. She accepted the award with a famous quote from civil rights activist Martin Luther King, before going on to recount her own experiences with mental illness.
"For in the words of Martin Luther King, everything that is done in this world is done with hope," Ms Padukone said, highlighting the need to try and better one's condition even in the darkest of times.
The actor said that it was her brush with depression that drove her to launch the Live Love Laugh Foundation, an online platform that offers help in the form of therapists, training programmes and awareness campaigns. "Through my journey to recovery from depression, I began to understand the stigma and lack of awareness associated with mental illness. I felt a deep need to save at least one life," she said, adding that that it was this very need that motivated her to go public with her illness and look for ways to help others like her.
Ms Padukone launched the Live Love Laugh Foundation in June 2015. Its programmes and initiatives include nationwide public awareness and destigmatisation campaigns, adolescent mental health programmes, and funding support for treatment in rural communities.
She said that the Live Love Laugh Foundation "exemplifies" her personal philosophy in life. "The foundation aims to provide hope to every person experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression," she said. "Mental illness presents us all with a very tough challenge, but my love-hate relationship with the illness has helped me learn much about it. One, to be patient, two, that you are not alone, but most importantly, that there is hope."
The actor was last seen in biographical-drama 'Chhapaak'. Directed by Meghna Gulzar, the movie is based on Laxmi Agarwal, a woman who was attacked with acid by a spurned suitor at the age of 15.
(With inputs from Agencies)