5 Indian celebrities who opened up about their mental health

5 April 2023
Pallavi Suri Written by Pallavi Suri
Pallavi Suri

Pallavi Suri

Pallavi has over 5 years of experience in writing. Mental health and social issues are topics...

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by Madan Thapa
Madan Thapa

Madan Thapa

Madan S Thapa is a healthcare consultant and also a seasoned pharma editor, with over 10+ years...

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Celebrities and glamorous lifestyles go together. 

With a huge social media following, millions in endorsements, fancy cars, and homes, celebrities project a life that at once seems aspirational and impossible. 

But while celebs may project a lifestyle that seems out-of-reach, they are often at their most powerful when they are deeply vulnerable, showcasing their struggles and battles with as much elan as they might walk the ramp. 

Who are these celebrities? MyndStories dug deep to find 5 Indian celebrities who have been open about their mental health. By doing so, they have helped to spread positive narratives to better understand and accept mental health issues and normalize discussions around them. 

Let’s talk about 5 of our favorite celebrities’ mental health journeys and what prompted them to talk about their struggles.   

Deepika Padukone 

5 Indian celebrities who opened up about their mental health deepika

This 37-year-old actor and producer has been the most vocal about mental health awareness after a diagnosis of clinical depression in 2014. At the 2020 World Economic Conference (WEF) in Switzerland, Deepika said, “Mental illness happened to me when I had least expected it. I was at a professional high, my movies were doing great, and I was in an amazing relationship. Everything was going just perfect.” At the conference, she also urged the UN to make mental health a part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Deepika has often spoken about her personal struggles with mental health and why she decided to go public with her mental health journey.   

As I began on my path of recovery, I also understood the stigma attached to mental health and the need to go public with it. Imagine what would have happened, if my mother had not said that I should seek professional help for my problem,” she continued. 

Deepika set up the Live Love Laugh Foundation in 2015 to spread awareness and encourage people to be open about their mental health woes. She has also been upfront about the role and plight of caregivers during the mental journey.    

Virat Kohli

5 Indian celebrities who opened up about their mental health virat kohli

The star batsman and ex-skipper of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli, is another celebrity who is candid about his struggles with mental health. The year 2022 was a difficult one for Kohli. Having been stripped of his captaincy in all formats of the game, Kohli was going through a rare lean period as a cricketer. He was struggling, and it showed, prompting him to take a 1-month sabbatical from the game. In a bare-all interview with Star Sports, Kohli openly explained why he just had to take that break. 

“For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t touch my bat for a month. When I sat down and thought about it, I was like, ‘wow, I haven’t touched a bat for like 30 days’. I haven’t ever done that in my life.”

Kohli said that the phase was a learning experience for him. He found that when he actually allowed things that were bothering him to come to the surface, he could embrace them as a part of him. 

In an earlier interview with Danish Sait, which was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s initiative on Mental Health awareness in 2021, Kohli mulled over the importance of having conversations about mental health. “Mentally, how you feel is something not spoken about enough, which is a very dangerous thing to ignore… It is very important to have conversations around it (mental health) because only when you speak do you find solutions.” 

Eventually, you realize that life is not about that (successes). It is about being happy. You could be miserable doing the things that seem fantastical to people on the outside, but you will never be able to bring that to the surface.”   

Kalki Koechlin

5 Indian celebrities who opened up about their mental health kalki koechlin

Kalki Koechlin is a critically acclaimed French-Indian actress who opened up about her motherhood struggles. 

Kalki has openly admitted that she suffered from postpartum depression and, in an interview with the Hindustan Times, said that “people just don’t talk about how difficult it is.’

She says, “I suffered from postpartum depression. And it’s something that shouldn’t be labeled as extreme exhaustion. If any human being is woken up every two hours, every night, and all day long, they are going to be depressed! Sleep deprivation is a form of torture; that’s why it’s used in torture chambers… People just don’t talk about how difficult it is. It’s a period of your life that you are supposed to just get through, or you are supposed to get medical help and you are labeled as depressed.”

As unaware as any first-time mother, Kalki explains her plight, “I didn’t know if this was normal and if this was what every woman went through. And if this is what every woman went through, then why are we not talking about it? And it’s really important that people know that this happens a lot and happens a lot more than it’s admitted.”

Humor helped her to cope during those times. She later decided to document her struggles in her graphic memoir The Elephant in the Womb. 

Yo Yo Honey Singh 

yo yo honey singh

For someone who has performed in front of a crowd of 20,000, I was scared of facing 4-5 people. That’s what bipolar disorder does to you,” said Yo Yo Honey Singh in a 2016 interview with the Hindustan Times.

The 40-year-old rapper with several hits to his name disappeared from the Indian music circuit for a long time. Yo Yo Honey Singh came out in the open and discussed how bipolar disorder changed him as a person, the struggles he faced, and how he tackled the illness. 

Honey Singh revealed in an interview with Siddharth Kannan, that his illness lasted for 18 months, during which he changed 4 doctors, “…the medication wasn’t working on me and crazy things were happening.” 

His career took a backseat during this phase.

When I collapsed, when I [was diagnosed with] bipolar disorder and started to have psychotic symptoms on the sets of Raw Star, I realized something was wrong with my brain, something had happened to it. I wanted to rectify it.” 

“My family said, ‘You are bound by contract, you will get sued. There will be a huge loss.’ I said, ‘I don’t care. I have to fix this.’ It took me 5 years.”

He admitted that his alcoholism and drug abuse worsened his condition further. He plans to document his bipolar journey through the medium he knows best: music.   

Ileana D’Cruz 

ileana dcruz

The Barfi actor opened up about her mental health issues in 2017 when she confessed that she had suicidal tendencies and suffered from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), where a person suffers from body image issues in extremities. 

At the 21st World Congress of Mental Health, in an emotionally charged discussion, Ileana spoke to Sunil Mittal, the Organizing Chairman of the World Congress. “I was always a very self-conscious person and was picked on for my body type. I used to feel low and sad all the time but didn’t know I was suffering from depression and BDD till I got help. All I wanted to do was to be accepted by everyone.

At one point, I even had suicidal thoughts and wanted to end things. However, all of it changed when I accepted myself and what I was going through. I think that is the first step towards fighting depression.”

Ileana was awarded the Woman of Substance Award for her efforts to raise awareness about mental health. She also urged people not to sit back and shy away from seeking help. In a post on Instagram, she reminds readers to love ourselves like Winnie-the-Pooh. “He wore a crop top, ate his favorite food all day, and loved himself… you can too.”

The takeaway for us

There are many other prominent names like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, and Manisha Koirala who have given their voice to mental health. They have shown how mental health conversations matter, now more than ever. 

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