Youngsters, especially in the age group of 25-35 years, are often seen seeking digital counselling to address anxiety and uncertainty issues. An Assocham report published in April 2015 revealed that 42.5 percent employees in India's private sector are afflicted by depression or general anxiety disorder.
Are you still fretting over your bad appraisal and seeking a way out to reduce stress? Founded in February 2016 by Ajay Phadke and Alvin Alva, Mumbai-based digital counselling platform Type A Thought (formerly known as Mind Your Mind) addresses a wide range of emotional and psychological concerns, from reducing distressing thoughts to increasing work performance. Type a Thought is a subsidiary of Phadke Health Tech Pvt. Ltd., which was founded by the doctor duo in June 2015.
While interacting with patients, Dr. Phadke discovered that a majority of them were grappling with mental and emotional issues and were unaware of how and where to seek help. He busts the common myth that psychological counselling is only tailored for clinically-ill people and not for every person who is a victim of depression.
Dr. Phadke (31) and Dr. Alva (31), MD Pathologists from Seth G.S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai roped in Kishore Phadke, Ajay’s grand-uncle and an eminent psychologist, to seek mentorship. Several months of fruitful discussions and research led the duo to launch Type A Thought. K. Phadke is the Chief Advisor and mentor of the startup.
We had to experiment a lot through growth hacks, improvising with what we have. It's still a process that has to be perfected right, from the landing page to the payment experience from the user.”
One has to log on to www.typeathought.com, sign up and stay anonymous using a display name of their choice. On doing so, they can discuss their problems with an in-house psychologist for free.
After the first free session, one can pay for an instant chat with the same counsellor or book an appointment with any of the counsellors. Counsellers’ profiles, qualifications, specialisations and experience are displayed on the website.
Type a Thought on-boarded experts: psychologists, life coaches, sexologists, social workers, speech and occupational therapists, marriage and family therapists and psychiatrists. The modes of communications are email, text, phone and video chat.
Type a Thought currently has a team of 10 employees and 50 verified experts- 45 experts for advance bookings and five in-house counsellors for instant chat.
Before getting into the panel, professionals need to fill out an online expert registration form and submit their documents for review. All professionals are screened followed by a mock chat session to assess the qualifications, training, experience and understanding related to issues.
Type a Thought has 2,000 registered active users. The startup targets to increase this to 10,000 in the next six months. The current conversion rate from free to paid users is five percent, which is likely to surge to eight percent by July 2016, according to Dr. Phadke.
“Our users are spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kashmir, West Bengal, Hyderabad and Kerala too,” he adds.
Earlier, due to social stigma around seeking professional counselling, many shied away from expressing their concerns. Today, e-counselling services in India such as ePsyClinic.com, healtheminds, hopenetwork.in and more have given the flexibility to take part in counselling sessions anonymously.
ePsyClinic.com offers treatment for depression, anxiety, relationship and career issues. Bengaluru-based healtheminds provides counselling and mental health support, both on the personal and professional front, while hopenetwork.in offers online counselling from both Indian and international therapists.
Sadaf Vidha, Consultant Psychologist, says,
E-counselling platforms helps me encounter more clients in two months than I would do in a clinic setup. The anonymity really helps people to come out and talk about their concerns. It is also convenient to conduct the sessions as most people may use text, phone or video chat.”
The two-month-old Type a Thought is currently witnessing 30-40 sign-ups per day with a 30-percent repeat customer base. The payment mechanism is based on each appointment booked with experts and the revenue is generated from the commission on each appointment fee. The startup has set the target to conduct 150 daily chat sessions in the next few months, with the launch of its mobile app this month. Going forward, it plans to enter the UK and North American markets as well.