It is okay to have moments of weakness, to be vulnerable, to breakdown sometimes and most importantly, to seek help and to even take medications, said Bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone speaking at a session in Hyderabad on mental health, on the final day of World Congress on Information Technology(WCIT)-2018 and NASSCOM Indian Leadership Forum.

Padukone pointed out that a lot of people don’t make efforts to seek help for depression, stressed on being honest with one’s feelings and on the need of taking criticism positively. Speaking about her battle with depression, Padukone said that it was one day in 2014 that she came face-to-face with the fact that she was facing depression, when her parents who had visited her house, were about to leave and she suddenly broke down in front of her mother. Padukone said, when her mother heard about her daily bouts of feelings like not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to meet anyone, lack of drive and irritability and immediately she understood that these were signs of depression and reached out to a counselor.

Her suggestion was that one should be more intuitive towards their friends, colleagues or family members who show signs of depression. She said that while people have moments of unhappiness, there is a huge difference between depression and just feeling unhappy.To those who are undergoing depression, Padukone said, “You are not alone. One in five people suffer from depression. We have to help each other out. It is okay to be vulnerable, to have moments of low, to share and to seek help.” She also said, “If your psychiatrist prescribes medication, it is okay to take medication”.

Speaking of her experience, she said, “I knew when I visited psychiatrist for the first time, that half of the battle was won. I knew what was happening to me.”The audience who had assembled to hear Padukone consisted mostly of corporate heads and senior executives from various IT and technology companies. Padukone told them that it is really important that all organisations should ensure that they have a counselor who visits regularly, so that employees who are facing depression get an avenue to open up about their problem.

Rishad Premji, Chief strategy Officer, Wipro who interviewed Padukone pointed out a figure put out by an ASSOCHAM report in 2015, that 42.5 percent of the corporate employees in India suffer depression.
Padukone’s suggestion to parents was that they should ensure that their kids have no reason to hide anything from them and to let them know that they are always around whenever needed. She also stressed on implementing mental health education in school curriculum.