Solving India’s mental health issues during COVID-19: these 5 startups show the way
When it comes to the prevalence of mental health issues in Indian society, there are many things linked to it that make it slightly more difficult for it to be addressed. One is the intangibility of such issues, and another is the stigma associated with it.
For long, identifying a mental illness in one’s self was popularly synonymous to being weak or "taking things too seriously." In fact, even today, the idea of seeing a psychiatrist or therapist is far-fetched and only serves as a last resort in many Indian households.
According to the Indian Psychiatry Society, the number of mental health cases – including anxiety and depression – has risen 20 percent since the lockdown was first announced on March 24, mostly attributed to the decline in social activity and restricted movement.
Working hard towards the welfare of mental health of people in the country in these trying times are these five startups:
This startup was founded by Dr Shefali Batra and Dr Amit Mailk in 2016. The app launched by them is a wholesome guide that has been curated by mental health professionals with the right attitude, values, and skill set. The app, which can be used by anyone over the age of 18, is a tool for customised self-help, and provides digital therapy - a bonus, especially in the times of a pandemic.
Based in Mumbai, Innerhour empowers people to overcome mental and emotional hardships. Their goal is to ensure that all users find themselves happier and healthier. The team comprises psychologists, product designers, and developers.
Founded by mother-daughter duo Anureet and Arushi Seth in 2014, Trijog is a Mumbai-based startup. Anureet has been a practicing psychologist for over three decades. It was Arushi’s final-year assignment that led to the creation of Trijog. It offers various mental health wellness solutions for individual clients, corporates, and even organisations. It is also affiliated with the Rehabilitation Council of India.
Specifically designing a way to keep Indians mentally healthy in times of the COVID-19 crisis, Trijog is currently providing discounted solutions for people facing increased mental difficulties. It has the provision of webinars and online counselling too.
This startup offers 24x7 free online chat support sessions and call sessions to aid the mental wellbeing of everyone whose lives have come to a standstill in these unprecedented times.
Based in Gurgaon and founded by Shipra Dawar in 2015, this mental health startup has now curated specialised digital counselling sessions for frontline health workers, senior citizens, women, and working professionals. Their blog also features a wide range of resources which shed light on the current scenario of interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships.
2017 was when the team at ePsyclinic launched an app called IWill, which has more than 45 in-house therapists and counsellors.
This platform is a way to connect those who are suffering from mental illnesses with mental health experts. It has been offering counselling in relationships, self-improvement, well-being, education, and career, ever since its inception in 2014. With the option to stay anonymous during chat, phone, or video call sessions, there is an escalated level of comfort that individuals have when seeking help.
Founded by Richa Chadha, this startup recently took up the responsibility of helping those who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, they have a list of resources to read through which provide relatable struggles subject to these times and tools to deal with those struggles.
Wysa is essentially an AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot created to address mental health concerns. This innovative idea to enable mental health welfare in the country came from Jo Aggarwal in 2015. The chatbots are designed by coaches, users, AI experts and therapists to ensure an effective and credible experience.
In the current times, Wysa is providing support to those who have been subject to anxiety and vulnerability. So far, Wysa has been anonymously used by residents of over 30 countries and benefitted more than than 1.2 million people. In fact, Wysa has been chosen as the best app for COVID-19 stress and anxiety by ORCHA, the world’s leading health app evaluation and adviser organisation.
Edited by Javed Gaihlot