Deepika has cited Chandy as a constant source of support during her treatment Image: Solaris
Deepika Padukone is one of the few Indian stars who have not shied away from talking about the issue of mental health, which is still a huge taboo, especially for the showbiz crowd. The person who helped the Bajirao Mastani star through the most tumultous period of her personal life is a Bangalore-based therapist, and a friend of Dippy's mother, Ujjala Padukone — Anna Chandy. Chandy has now released a book, which talks about her own journey to mental health, and also has a foreword by Dippy.
Anna's book, Battles in the Mind, chronicles her own struggle with her mental health. "As a counsellor, I wanted people to know counsellors have issues, too. I wanted to normalise mental health concerns," Chandy told Mid-Day recently. "In the West and elsewhere, it is a requisite for counsellors to undergo personal therapy to be able to effectively help others," she added. Chandy is also the first certified training and supervising transactional analyst from Asia, accredited with the International Transactional Analysis Association.
In 2014, Deepika's mum called Chandy up while the latter was vacationing in Kerala, to ask for her help in treating her daughter's mental distress. "Anna Aunty has been a family friend for years. She has more recently been my therapist when I went through clinical depression two years ago," Deepika writes in the foreword for Chandy's book Battles in the Mind. Chandy herself hails from a dysfunctional family, and is a victim of child abuse, and only realised much later in life, that she needed to address the issues.
"Many of us are on our own journeys of self-discovery, or aspire to be. More importantly, this book communicates energy, resilience and hope for people struggling with various kinds of mental health issues," adds the Padmavati actor, who would often talk to Chandy on the phone, during the period of her treatment. Chandy is also the chairperson of The Live Love Laugh Foundation, which she set up along with Deepika, to create awareness about and destigmatize mental health in India.
"It was a struggle to wake up, and shoot for Happy New Year, every day (the 2014 hit helmed by Farah Khan). Finally, I had a word with Anna aunty. She flew to Mumbai from Bengaluru, and I talked my heart out to her. She concluded that I was suffering from anxiety and depression," Deepika had told Hindustan Times last year. "I feel that at times, the patient just wants to talk, and isn’t seeking advice. But, well-wishers saying things like, ‘Don’t worry, it will all be alright,’ might be detrimental," added the 31-year-old actor, who also launched the #DobaraPoocho campaign to spread awareness about handling mental issues.
You can know more about The Live Love Laugh Foundation here.