Leading celebrities with mental illnesses

WHO estimates that one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some of point of their lives. Around 450 million suffer from such conditions which makes mental illnesses one of the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.

Even people who seem to have everything which one desires in their life- money, fame, power experience depression and other related illnesses at some point of their lives. Here is a list of celebrities who have been vocal about their experience with mental health

  1. Michael Phelps

The most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals was diagnosed with ADHD when he was sixth grade and was prescribed medication. Michael learned to use the power of his mind to focus on school work with his doctor’s assistance later was able to come off his medication.

  1. Jim Carrey

One of the best actor and comedian of this generation has suffered from depression for a significant portion of his life. At one point of his depression became so exhausting that he was clueless about how he would overcome it. He sought help from a doctor and was prescribed antidepressant medication.

  1. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie battled with depression in her 20s and again when her mother passed away in 2007. She agreed to star in the movie “Wanted” as a means of coping with the depression. In 2008 she said “ My mother had just passed away and I wanted to do something physical to get it out of my head for a while”. “I felt I was going into dark place. I wasn’t capable of getting up in the morning so I signed up for something that could force me to be active”.

  1. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger popular for his portrayal of Joker in the movie “The Dark Knight” died in 2008 due to the overdose of sleeping pills, painkillers and anxiety drugs. In an interview given to The New York Times he had said that playing joker in The Dark Knight had taken a toll on his ability to sleep.

The toxicology report after his death confirmed that “he died because of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam and alprazolam.


  1. Ellen Degeneres

Ellen spoke about her experiences of anger and depression after she publically announced her sexual orientation in 1997 which affected her career. She couldn’t switch on TV without some comedian or TV host making fun of her.

  1. Britney Spears

Britney Spears famous for her international best seller album “Baby One More Time” has suffered from psychological disorders for years.  Dr. Diana Kirschner an expert on the subject studied her behavior and she said “People who show patterns of behavior as shown by Britney Spears are suffering from dual diagnosis. They have both substance abuse problem and a bipolar disorder or a manic disorder”

  1. Shahrukh Khan

The second richest actor in the world slipped into depression after suffering shoulder injury during a shoot in 2010.


  1. Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone spoke about her depressive phase in an interview with Barkha Dutt. She has also setup a centre “Live Love Laugh Foundation” to help people going through the same phase.

  1. Randeep Hooda

Critically Acclaimed actor Randeep Hooda revealed about being depressed during the shooting of Highway and Sarabjit.





Obfuscating Suicides On Suicide Prevention Day

Today is the World Suicide Prevention Day. By the end of the day, there would have been seminars, awareness rallies, talk shows, discussions, debates, political finger pointing and everything else associated usually with this day in the past plus of course experts advising parents to spend quality time with their kids so that they do not fall prey to the fatal charms of the blue whale.(Incidentally what happened to spending quantity time with children? Quality time so means very little time and how does one distil time anyway ?)

It would also have been pointed out that 200,000 thousand Indians commit suicide every year according to WHO figures and that each suicide inherently is an avoidable death.

We in India do not get the right answers because we keep on asking the wrong questions. In the wake of a suicide there is a strong and urgent impulse to project its sole causation to something or preferably somebody out there. We do it because then it ceases to be our responsibility and we are saved from asking ourselves uncomfortable questions. Hence, the National Crime Research Bureau lists causes of suicides committed in 2015 as ‘non-settlement of marriage’, extra-marital affair, property dispute, failure in examination, failure in love affair, failure in business etc etc. The category of ‘Cause Unknown’ is just 12%.Rest all stands ‘explained’ The same defence mechanism of projection by the society is responsible for looking for an ‘abettor’ in all cases of suicides .

To say only on the basis of temporal proximity that these were the causes of suicide in the sense that had these factors been absent the person would not have committed suicide is not logical. It is like saying in the case of man being run over after a breakfast of scrambled eggs, that scrambled eggs are cause of being run over.To say that such common life situations could on their own lead a person to suicide would mean that most people will die of suicide sooner or later. Suicides are multifactorial and the most important cause is psychological vulnerability, most other so called causes being the triggers. In a very large number of cases of suicides there are no triggers at all.

There is no doubt that farmers’ distress is one of the most tragic fact of our times and needs the government’s support on a priority basis. It is also important that a focus on the topic has brought much needed help and some infusion of ideas to reform the agricultural sector. But to say that farmers suicide are disproportionate in numbers as compared to any other occupation, is not just not correct but comes in the way of offering mental health solutions to farmers themselves. Financial support is necessary to provide succour to the devastated family but will do nothing to prevent future suicides. As per an affidavit submitted by the central government to the Supreme Court, farmers’ suicides constituted just 9.4% of total suicides in the country. When an issue becomes as emotive and as political as farmers’ suicides, a rational pursuit of solution is the first casualty and the intended beneficiaries first victims.

Does it mean that everybody who commits suicide has mental health issues? Not at all. Choosing to terminate one’s life in the face of a painful terminal illness or a major unavoidable adversity as a matter of conscious choice does happen but with much less frequency.

Prevention of suicide starts with asking the right questions and providing mental health services both as part of the general health services and as standalone service . All cases of suicide are subject to a post- mortem examination by law. What is also required and eminently feasible is a psychological autopsy in all cases of suicide. This data when compiled will give precise answers much better than the kite flying going on currently. Sometimes being politically incorrect is the only correct way.

“So, we need to evaluate more in depth each suicide and get to know the other causes like emotionally disturbed individual , inadequate support and means of problem solving, depression and major life crisis. Every effort should be made to prevent suicide. This is responsibility of every mental health professional and the whole society”

Prof. Anirudh Kala is the Director of Mind Plus Healthcare.

Know Your Parenting Style

The other day I was watching Slumdog Millionaire on television for the nth time, and it got me thinking. Here are two brothers – Jamal and Salim. Two brothers with similar genetics and experiences, and yet who are diametrically different in every possible way. Which evoked the whole nature vs. nurture theory debate in my head.

There is no doubt in my mind that we all our predisposed to be a certain type of individual, and that is what governs our personality. However the events we experience, the kind of exposure we get in life and our learning from those, also has a huge impact on shaping us. But which has a bigger role – our genetic make up or our life experiences?

Either ways there is no doubt each has a contribution to creating the individuals that we are. The more important point to remember is that we cannot control the genetic make up of our children, but what we can control is the environmental factors that might influence them. Have you ever thought about what is your parenting style and is it helping your child to get the right opportunities to be the best version of them?

Here is a quick quiz for you to help identify your parenting style. Don’t worry the responses and results are only for you to know.

Q1. Your son wants to start soccer classes, what do you do?
(a)You enroll him in a sports academy that has an alumnus of good performers, and make sure he does not miss out on any class.
(b)You ask him for further information and together go see a few places and then enroll.
(c)You buy him an entire soccer gear and enroll him in the best academy in town
(d)You enroll him in a class closest to home, so that he can manage the routine on his own.

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