Matthew Perry to Deepika Padukone: What happens when celebrities share their mental health journey

It takes guts for celebrities to reveal their battle with mental health issues. But be it Hollywood or Bollywood, stars have been open about it to help others facing the same struggles.
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When celebrities share their mental health journey with the world. Image courtesy: Instagram
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 1 Nov 2023, 15:15 pm IST
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While fans would give up literally anything to get a sneak-peak into the lives of their favourite celebrities, these public personalities often keep the intricacies of their lives hidden from the world. But that may not be true for everybody. It wasn’t for Friends star Matthew Perry. It hasn’t been so for many more global stars, including Bollywood’s very own Deepika Padukone, who is a mental health advocate.

It hasn’t been new for Deepika Padukone to share her vulnerable side, but the latest Koffee with Karan episode, where even filmmaker Karan Johar shared his battle with mental health, was an eye opener. From Deepika talking about her battle with mental illness to Karan Johar talking about consulting his therapist, the conversation was full of hope and help for all those who are going through traumatic mental issues.

Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar on battling mental health issues

In 2015, Deepika shocked the world when she spoke about her depression publicly. She started a mental health foundation called Live Love Laugh. On the show, she spoke about why she decided to talk about it publicly. “My heart breaks for people who struggle and still don’t know what they are going to. That’s why I came out in 2014, and I shared my experience, breaking it down and said (that) this is what I was feeling for a prolonged period of time. The intention was that if there was even one person who heard the interview and said, ‘Oh my god! This is what I am going through’, then at least I am able to help and save one life,” Deepika said on the show.

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh
Deepika Padukone’s husband, actor Ranveer Singh also spoke about being a caregiver. Image courtesy: Instagram

On the show, Karan Johar revealed almost facing a panic attack during a high profile event recently. While he seemed absolutely composed in the paparazzi pictures that we saw at the NMACC launch event held earlier this year, the behind-the-scenes story was different. “Varun (Dhawan, actor) was staring at me. I was sweating, and I didn’t even realise it. He came to me and he held my hand, and said ‘Are you okay?’ My hands were shaking. He took me to an empty room and I started breathing. I first thought, ‘Is this a cardiac arrest? What am I going through?’ I got out of my jacket, which was kind of long and elaborate. And I just left like in half an hour,” he shared on the show.

Is it easy for celebrities to talk about their fears and addictions?

Not just in Bollywood, even in Hollywood, many celebrities have taken to global platforms to talk about their mental health. Actor Matthew Perry, whose sudden death has left people shocked, wrote extensively about his alcohol and drug addiction in his memoir. Besides Perry, many other Hollywood actors have also openly spoken about their mental illness struggles. Supermodel Kendall Jenner has often spoken about her anxiety issues, while singer Adele has also shared about going through depression.

Anu Goel, counselling psychologist, hypnotherapist and past life regression therapist, tells Health Shots “It’s not easy for celebrities to show this vulnerable side to people. They are expected to have a perfect image and this does get tough for them. People feel how can they go wrong! But it helps normalising counselling and professional help.”

These discussions also take a toll on celebrities. According to Dr Imran Noorani, Consultant Psychologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, “The pressure of fame, public scrutiny, and a lack of privacy can contribute to their mental health struggles. Additionally, their access to resources and treatment options may differ from the average person.”

Deepika Padukone on mental health
Deepika Padukone is a mental health advocate. Image courtesy: Instagram via @deepikapadukone

How does it help?

Dr Noorani says that when celebrities come out and talk about their mental health challenges, it can have a significant impact for several reasons:

  • Reducing Stigma: Celebrities have a broad platform and can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues. By sharing their experiences, they demonstrate that anyone can be affected, regardless of their fame or success.
  • Relatability: It can make mental health issues more relatable to the general public. Knowing that even famous individuals face similar struggles can help people feel less alone in their own mental health journeys.
  • Inspiration: Celebrities’ openness about their mental health can inspire others to seek help, whether it’s through therapy, support groups, or treatment. It encourages people to take action.
  • Awareness and Education: Celebrity stories can raise awareness about different mental health conditions and provide educational resources for those who might not have been informed otherwise.
  • Empathy: Sharing their vulnerability allows celebrities to connect on a human level with their fans, fostering a sense of empathy and understanding.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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