7 Important Things Priyanka Chopra Said About Depression At The #SocialForGood Live-Athon

Swagata Dam , 27 Nov 2018

This afternoon, Priyanka Chopra went live on Facebook and spoke about various important topics like cyberbullying, mental health, woman entrepreneurship and the importance of giving back to society. Known for her badass demeanour and outspoken nature, PeeCee has never shied away from standing up for what’s right.

Apart from being a celebrated global icon, the actress also happens to be a philanthropist, who believes in doing her bit. A few years ago, I had managed to meet the superstar for a candid conversation, where she had opened up about facing racism and how she was once bullied in America because she’s brown. From then to now – a lot has changed in her life. The Bollywood diva is all set to get married to an American pop star and is easily one of the most loved faces in the West at present. But there’s one thing that has remained unchanged – her passion to make a difference.

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When Mansur Ali, 12 yrs old, first came to the Child Friendly Space (CFS) at the Balukhali camp, he was only drawing scenes of bloodshed and violence. Helicopters shooting at him and his friends playing soccer… or his village and home being on fire with burning bodies all around him.. Today, his drawings reflect a more hopeful story, one we would like all these children to have. Since the #Rohingya children have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, they have been living in overcrowded camps with no real place that to call their own. Imagine a space that lets you forget your troubles and be a child again… even if its only for just a few hours a day. For the Rohingya children, over 300,000, in the camps in Bangladesh this is the only space that allows them to be kids. These Child Friendly Spaces created by @unicef give kids access to art, music, dance, sport, and counselling etc. The space has often proved to be very therapeutic, helping these kids deal with the horrific situations they faced.. the @unicef aid workers work tirelessly to make sure these children find their spirit again. It doesn’t matter where a child is from or what his or her circumstances are… NO child deserves a life without hope for the future. The world needs to care. We need to care. Please lend your support at www.supportunicef.org #childrenuprooted @unicef @unicefbangladesh

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She recently joined hands with Facebook for Social For Good – an important initiative that aims to create awareness about several issues. Our founder and editor-in-chief, MissMalini caught up with PC during one of the segments of Social For Good this afternoon. During their chat, Chopra spoke about being trolled on social media and how she deals with it. She said: “Whenever someone trolls me, I just retweet them and then my army (her fans) goes after them.” Now, that’s a great strategy! Don’t you think?

Along with Imtiaz Ali and other eminent panellists – Priyanka also had a lengthy discussion about depression, anxiety, and mental health. Here are a few things she said during the interaction:

1. We’ve seen so many cases which happened online that I have read about and I am sure all of us have – where there’s a certain loneliness attached to feeling depressed or feeling anxious. Because we are so afraid that we will be judged, we don’t talk about it. And then you isolate yourself. When you isolate yourself, you try to harm yourself. There are so many young children who are trying to deal with depression like that because they are so afraid to talk to their parents or their friends.

2. Anxiety is not stress. Depression is more than just a low feeling.

3. As parents and teachers, we need to tell kids it is ok to talk about it. We need to tell them “You are not weak!” or that “You may not be brave. But that’s normal.” We need to normalise the conversation.

4. The entire responsibility of the society cannot be on the entertainers. I feel like it happens so much in India. Filmmaking is a filmmaker’s perspective and it’s fiction. There are many kinds of people who live in the world, I believe. Some of them can not be the representation of a subject. For example: If someone wants to tell a story about someone who has a mental health issue, and is telling a story about someone who couldn’t deal with it – it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the storyteller to change society.

5. I feel like we as citizens of the world—people who care about each other—individually should be able to have that conversation. We as influencers—because we are from the industry and because we are public people—people will listen to it and the media will write about it. On a personal level, we should be the movers and shakers, whereas I don’t feel the responsibility of everything should fall on filmmaking.

6. The kind of stigmas that are attached within society and our upbringing is what shapes everyone around us. As soon as some public person comes out and says, “I have battled depression or this is what happened to me,” there are people who shame them. There are people who say, “Oh, maybe she’s a little weak.” or “Maybe she won’t be able to handle it as the other one.” What we need to do is if and when people, especially public people have gone through something that has anything to do with mental health when they talk about it – the society needs to make them feel like they are in a safe space. So that everybody else feels like they can do it too.

7. Please don’t say, “You are overthinking it.” Say, “I understand.” Never say, “It’s in your head or you are just making it up”.

Priyanka and the panellists also discussed how people end up saying some really inappropriate things to a person who needs help.

Here’s a list of things you should NOT be saying:

  • Pagal hai kya?
  • Therapy is for the weak.
  • Faaltu mein itna mat soch, doodh pee ke so ja.
  • It’s not like you have a fever, na? You are just feeling sad.
  • Shopping se mood thik ho jayega.
  • Aaj raat ko dinner ke liye jaate hai na. Kal you’ll be fine.

Here are a few things that you should be staying instead:

  • It’s okay not to be okay.
  • This will pass or even if it does not, we will figure it out.
  • I am here to listen to you.
  • It can happen to anybody, it can happen to me, it can happen to you.

Conversations like these are so important and I am glad that we are finally having it on social media – and that someone like Priyanka Chopra is a part of it. Kudos to the actress and also to Facebook for initiating something like Social For Good.

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