Actor Deepika Padukone has been named the brand ambassador of the Indian Psychiatric Society. She is also the founder of The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) which will work in tandem with the Society to conduct outreach programmes on mental health.
The Society will assist TLLLF in the nationwide roll-out of a sensitization programme called ‘Together Against Depression’. The programme commenced in May 2016 with a webinar for doctors. It was conducted in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and saw the participation of 2000 doctors.
TLLLF aims to expand the programme to a further 5,000 doctors by the end of this financial year. As part of the agreement with the Society, Deepika has offered her support on a pro bono basis.
“Mental health of Indian citizens is a large and growing challenge for the country, and the more resources we have to combat this issue, the better the chances that those who need help can secure the support they need," Deepika said in a statement.
"The Live Love Laugh Foundation and Indian Psychiatric Society have a shared vision to make mental health a priority for the government and for society at large. I am very pleased to support the activities of the Indian Psychiatric Society in my role as their brand ambassador,” she added.
IPS President G. Prasad Rao said India is home to the largest number of mental health patients in the world, with at least 50 million Indians estimated to be undergoing depression at any one point in time.
"However, our country is home to one of the smallest per capita base of mental health professionals globally. The IPS is focused on positive mental health and in stigma reduction not only for depression, but also across the spectrum for all psychiatric disorders," Rao said.
"The crisis our country is facing requires urgent interventions at various levels, and we are very pleased at the work that's been by various organisations in this regard,” added Rao.
Following the agreement, Together Against Depression -the sensitization programme for doctors- will be expanded nationwide.
The programme focuses on incidence of depression, screening and treatment. Programme participants will also receive material such as videos, articles, quizzes and handouts for easy reference. The course material for the programme has been designed in-house by The Live Love Laugh Foundation.
The launch of the programme for doctors follows the unveiling earlier this year of You Are Not Alone -the foundation's flagship programme focused on educating high school students and teachers on stress, anxiety and depression.