One year of lockdown: How mental health issues were tackled by these organisations
Mental health has been a topic of discussion over the last few years, with more people acknowledging its importance for well-being. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health regained importance as many people suffered from depression and anxiety due to loss of jobs and livelihood or being confined at home following the lockdown and closure of social spaces.
In October, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that roughly 20 percent of India’s population would suffer from mental health issues by the end of 2020.
However, several organisations including startups and NGOs stepped in to help people in need of mental health services. Corporate entities engaged employees in various activities and conversations to encourage social interactions in some form.
SocialStory lists the efforts of some organisations that helped people cope with mental health problems last year and continue to do so.
A screengrab from one of the sessions
Indifamily Foundation started the initiative Pehla Sukh — India Wellness Movement during the pandemic to help individuals adopt a holistic and healthy lifestyle. Its mission is to reach out to five million people by 2025.
Pehla Sukh aims to promote holistic health through personal (mental and physical), professional (financial and work), people (family, friends, and society), passion (desires and ambitions), and purposeful (nature, spiritual and meaning of life) initiatives.
It also seeks to reduce risks and healthcare costs by transitioning from a reactive to a proactive model, be it in diagnosis, treatment, cure, screening, prediction, and prevention.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a rise in the number of people suffering from mental health issues.
According to a 2015-16 survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, 13.7 percent of Indians suffer from some form of mental illness. More worryingly, of the 150 million Indians, who need mental health interventions, only 30 million have access to such care.
To bridge this gap, Vivek Sagar and his daughter, Shiya Sagar, set up mental wellness startup HopeQure that enables people to opt for therapy and counselling on a secure online platform.
The founders and their team of 20 have built a web-based solution and a mobile platform that provides online counselling and therapy, while also offering programmes tailor-made for specific sections of people.
The home page of the platform - Therapize.
Mumbai residents Anushka Kelkar and Aviva Bhansali are helping people access mental healthcare services through their platform, Therapize India. It aims to connect people suffering from mental health problems with clinical psychologists, counsellors, and psychotherapists.
The platform operates on three principles: availability, accessibility, and awareness. It seeks to achieve the dual goal of spreading knowledge about mental health and enabling easy access to care.
The platform has a database of reliable therapists, including details such as their qualifications, work experience, an estimation of the hourly fee, contact number, and, most importantly, the kind of therapy they practise.
A screenshot of the Now & Me web platform.
Started by Drishti Gupta and Bani Singh, online platform Now&Me provides a safe space for people to talk about their mental health, feelings, and thoughts, as well as express their emotions. It aims to remove the stigma around conversations on mental health.
With the pandemic giving rise to fear, uncertainty, and stress among communities, the founders started the “Impact 10K lives” programme to encourage 10,000 people to register on the platform in 10 days. Though only 4,490 people registered, Drishti and Bani remain hopeful more people will do so.