- Recently, celebrities have opened up about their mental health battles.
- With their activism, they have pledged to destigmatize mental health, especially on “mental health days” like World Suicide Prevention Day.
A string of Bollywood A-listers like Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, and Ileana D’Cruz has recently opened up about their mental health issues related to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, etc.
This is in keeping with their Hollywood counterparts (like Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Britney Spears, and others) who have been positively stirring the conversation around mental health for quite some time.
In fact, the stories of mental health struggles of celebrities have inspired awareness around therapy, mental health care, and “mental health days”. These include World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, Mental Health Awareness Week, World Suicide Prevention Day, Addiction Awareness Week, etc.
Alarming Rates Of Suicide
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally. It is a global phenomenon, occurring in almost all age groups. According to the World Health Organization, more than 700,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year—which is one person every 40 seconds. Besides physical disorders (like chronic fatigue, cancer, etc.), most suicides can be attributed to mental health disorders such:
- Bipolar disorders
- Personality disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance addiction
Suicide Prevention: Every Life Matters!
Suicide is the extreme outcome of untreated, under-diagnosed, or misdiagnosed physical and/or mental health conditions. The stigmatization of mental health makes it difficult to detect mental health issues and seek treatment for the same.
Hence, the first step toward suicide prevention is acknowledging mental health disorders and ‘opening’ the conversation around mental health. In the process, we can develop a healthier, ‘more normalized’ approach toward mental health care like therapy, medication, etc.
Other measures of suicide prevention include:
- Limiting access to methods of suicide (such as firearms, poisons, etc.)
- Timely treatment of mental disorders
- Careful media reporting about suicide
- Improving psychosocial and economic conditions
- Availing resources like crisis hotlines, hospitalization, etc.
“Mental Health Days” In Suicide Prevention
One of the ways in which both national and international bodies strive to raise awareness about mental health is the adoption of “mental health days”. These include “Mental Health” day, week, or month. Sometimes, specific mental health days are dedicated to specific aspects of psychological wellness like addiction, suicide prevention, etc.
Some of the landmark mental health days include:
- World Suicide Prevention Day, held on 10 September
- World Mental Health Day, held on 10 October
- Mental Health Awareness Month, held throughout the month of May
Such designated periods usually see a spate of activities like campaigns, mental health drives, activism, workshops promoting psychological well-being, and others that work toward the destigmatization of mental health. Frequently, celebrities open up about their mental health and highlight the need for mental healthcare.
For instance, Indian actress Deepika Padukone, one of the foremost celebrities with depression, and her foundation Live Love Laugh Foundation supported the initiatives associated with suicide prevention on 2022 World Suicide Prevention Day which was themed as “creating hope through action”.
Experts have lauded her effort, contending that similar initiatives by celebrities, governments, and non-governmental bodies can prevent the skyrocketing cases of mental health conditions prevalent in children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.
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