Davos WEF

India may be going through a mental health 'revolution,' says Bollywood star Deepika Padukone

Key Points
  • Deepika Padukone received a Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum on Monday for her work on mental health. 
  • The actress described her "love-hate relationship" with her mental illness. 
Indian actress Deepika Padukone delivers her acceptance speech during the "Crystal Award" ceremony at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 20, 2020.
Fabrice Coffrini

Deepika Padukone, one of India's highest paid actresses and mental health campaigner, says the country is at the "beginning of a revolution" in dealing with these issues.

Speaking to CNBC's Tania Bryer, the actress said she felt people in India were now not as afraid to talk about mental health as they once were.

Padukone won one of WEF's cultural leadership Crystal Awards on Monday evening, for her campaigning to raise awareness around mental health.

The actress founded The Live, Love, Laugh Foundation in 2015, after being diagnosed with depression herself the previous year.

The charity not only aims to spread awareness, having launched India's first national campaign, but also works toward the destigmatization of mental illness.

After going public with her mental health struggles, Padukone said she felt there was a collective "sigh of relief" from those who had similar experiences.

"It almost felt like there was this burden the nation was having to deal with for so many generations and so many years — it felt like this veil had finally been lifted off," she said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

While she said people praised her openness about mental health as "brave" and courageous, Padukone viewed it as simply being "honest."

Padukone went on to explain how her "powerful" experience with depression changed her as a person, in changing her perspective on life.

For this reason, the actress said she had a "love-hate relationship" with her mental illness, as she considered it the "darkest phase of her life" but also "learned a lot from it."

Padukone most recently starred in "Chhapaak," translated as "Splash" in which she played an acid attack survivor. The movie was based on the real life story of Laxmi Agarwal, who was attacked when she was 16 years' old and is now a high-profile campaigner against the sale of acid.

Padukone is also known for her role in the 2018 period drama "Padmaavat" and alongside Vin Diesel, in the 2017 movie "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage."

In addition to her most recent accolade in Davos, Padukone was named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2018.

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