Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone Image Credit: Instagram/deepikapadukone

Deepika Padukone has hit pause on her Bollywood social updates to use her Instagram to amplify a good cause.

The actress, who has been a strong advocate for mental health, has launched the Frontline Assist initiative to provide mental health support to frontline workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in India, which is in the midst of a deadly second wave.

Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone Image Credit: GN Archives

The 35-year-old actress has joined hands with Sangath, an NGO committed to addressing the psychological and social needs of people. Through her own NGO Live Love Laugh, she will be supporting the Sangath’s COVID-19 wellbeing centre through the sale proceeds from her clothing line, ‘The Deepika Padukone Closet’, which is also supporting her own NGO, Live Love Laugh that aims to help those suffering from anxiety, and depression.

“Frontline workers have been the backbone of our country as we weather this pandemic. Having had a lived experience with mental illness, I understand the importance of emotional wellbeing, and as a mental health foundation, we are grateful to be able to contribute to the mental health of our country’s frontline workers with ‘Frontline Assist’,” posted Padukone on Instagram.

“We are proud to direct proceeds from ‘The Deepika Padukone Closet’ towards mental health support of our country’s real heroes through our partnership with Sangath,” she further added.

Padukone further explained that the support will include funds to drive Sangath’s staff training efforts and enable greater awareness of the initiative to ensure frontline workers access the well-being center’s services.

In May, Padukone, who has openly spoken about her personal battle with depression, also used her social media reach to remind her followers about the importance of emotional well-being as her country grapples with a savage second wave of COVID-19.

“As millions of us (me and my family included) strive to stay afloat, let us not forget that our emotional well-being in this current crisis, is equally important! Remember, You Are Not Alone. We are in this together. And most importantly, there is HOPE! #YouAreNotAlone @tlllfoundation,” wrote Padukone on Instagram.

Last year in April, Padukone had spearheaded a conversation on Instagram with WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu where she urged her fans to send in questions about emotional well-being and busted myths about the virus along the way.

Deepika Padukone
Image Credit: Insta/deepika.padukone.fanpage

This bankable actress, who is one of India’s most popular faces, has always maintained that a famous person who may seem wealthy and privileged can also be depressed and that it’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate based on caste or class.

“As a person who has had a lived experience with mental illness, I cannot stress enough about the importance of reaching out. Talk. Communicate. Express. Seek. Help. Remember you are not alone. WE are in this together. And most importantly, there is Hope,” tweeted Padukone following the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s last year.