Bollywood Stars Who Stood Against India's Mental Health Taboo

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With the release of ‘Dear Zindagi’ it can finally be said that mainstream Bollywood is growing up. This coming of age drama film handles the issue of mental health in a very mature light. As the leading lady, played by Alia Bhatt struggles to deal with her insomnia and fear of commitment, she decides to see a therapist and finally confront and resolve her childhood issues.

In a country like India where mental health is still a huge taboo, brushed under the carpet or discussed only in hushed tones, mostly mocking the patient, this movie shines a spotlight on it. In the light of this movie, here are some of the Bollywood celebrities who are openly challenging India’s mental health taboo by talking about it publicly.

Deepika Padukone

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The stunning dimpled actress has recently opened up about her depression and how she decided to seek medical help for it. Initially she thought that it was stress and tried to focus on work. But it did not go away. Her shallow breath, lack of concentration and regular breakdowns indicated something else. So instead of aggravating it by hiding, she decided to accept and confront. Not only is she doing much better with help, she is also actively engaged in raising awareness on mental health.


Anushka Sharma

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The bubbly and beautiful Anushka Sharma openly speaks about her anxiety issues. She says that she is under treatment and takes regular medication for anxiety. She doesn’t shy away from letting the world know that some other members of her family as well who have mental health issues. She urges more people to come out and talk about mental health because it is just another illness which can be treated with proper medical help.


Honey Singh

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Love him or hate him, rapper Honey Singh is someone you cannot ignore. While he has received quite a bit of flak for his sexist and offensive lyrics, he deserves much applause for talking about his bipolar disorder publicly. During this time he barely got out of his room, or shaved. He had cut everyone out as being with people was painful at that point. He also talks about how scary it was, especially when he was not responding to medication and finally after trying several doctors and various medicines, he found the right ones.


Ileana D'Cruz

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Ileana D'Cruz, who had managed to make her mark opposite Bolly biggies like Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra does not shy away from talking about her mental health issues. She aims to raise awareness on mental health by sharing her story of struggling with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, anxiety and depression. With proper help and constant support, she keeps her problems in control and lives a healthy life. She aims to help people break the stigma around mental health by talking about her own issues.


Shah Rukh Khan

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Even the biggest super star and the king of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan had to fight depression. Following his on set shoulder injury during shooting and subsequent surgery in 2010, the star fell into depression. He openly talks about how painful those dark days were for him. He informs gladly that with proper help, he is doing better now. He encourages his fans to seek medical help for mental health instead of suffering silently and hiding.


Randeep Hooda

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Known for his rugged looks and challenging roles, actor RandeepHooda had a tough time grappling with his mental health issues. After his drastic transformation for the movie, Sarbjit, the role had affected him to such an extent that he was deep into depression. He says that it is normal for people to go through these issues, just like people sometimes suffer from physical ailments.

As the big names of Bollywood are speaking up on mental health, we do see a glimmering ray of hope that more Indians will seek medical help instead of talking about mental health in hushed whispers.

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