Why this social entrepreneur decided to focus on mental health with his startup
Started in 2020, BecauseYOU aims to offer a collaborative and holistic approach to mental healthcare. It focuses on building a tight-knit community to support one another since the journey of mental health can be lonely most of the time.
The COVID-19 induced pandemic and the lockdown brought attention to mental health more than ever.
Sporting an opportunity to create a new approach to mental health amidst the pandemic, Daniel Lobo, along with his friend and entrepreneur, Harmik Wilkho, started.
The social enterprise offers a collaborative and holistic approach to mental healthcare for individuals and organisations.
Social entrepreneur Daniel was diagnosed with bipolar disorder — a severe mental health issue — in 2015. His intense depression made him question his self-worth and identity.
With the help of a good doctor, his wife, and therapy, he started to feel better. He was determined to live a full life, irrespective of his mental health issues, to have a thriving career, travel the world, and raise a family.
“It made me prioritise my well being, slow down, and try different approaches to feel better. While this was empowering in one way, it was also a lonely journey,” he tells SocialStory.
He started BecauseYOU with a belief that people impacted by mental health issues can live a high potential life, if, given the right support and belief in their own resilience and creativity.
“We believe, when we take the time to understand ourselves, get support, and identify our gifts, we unleash creativity and wisdom, even when it's difficult. You can have a full potential life “BecauseYOU" are already creative, resilient, thoughtful, and compassionate. A mental health issue does not change any of that,” Daniel says.
BecauseYOU was launched as a social enterprise in September 2020.
“We realised an organised, holistic approach was needed in India — one that was complementary to everything else already created,” Daniel explains.
Within a few months, BecauseYOU started working with organisations. It decided to work on long-term projects — ideally between six months and a year with one client.
These projects, Daniel says, emphasises understanding oneself better and going on a journey of self-discovery with others facing similar issues.
“This way, the journey is less lonely, a problem faced by all people dealing with a mental health issue. I also brought my personal experience with the countless stories of others I’d spoken to facing emotional distress to create a holistic approach of taking care of the mind, body, and soul to lead a full life,” he adds.
What it offers
For individuals, BecauseYOU offers a customised approach to individuals based on where they are on their mental health journey. It creates affordable tailored programmes, workshops, and community events.
The outcomes of these programmes vary from deepening self-awareness to learning from a peer network, learning new coping mechanisms, to taking care of your mental health.
On the B2B side, BecauseYOU creates a sensitive culture towards mental health within an organisation and works with first responders to help them heal and deal with loss amidst COVID-19.
This includes creating a culture of psychological safety, managing high-stress situations, and self-care for employees.
At present, BecauseYOU is serving clients online all over India and a few from around the world, including the US, UK, Singapore, Australia, and the UAE.
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the surface the global mental health challenges, and our online model helped reach people more efficiently and in a manner that we didn't think was possible before,” says Daniel. He adds that clearly, the mental health impact of the pandemic would only deepen in the coming years.
A young, mission-driven team of consultants and freelancers, supported by global mentors in mental health care and business, BecauseYOU is looking to bring in different experts to grow the startup.
BecauseYOU competes with the likes of startups such as Wysa, YourDOST, and eSpyClinic.
According to Daniel, his organisation has delivered workshops to over 500 individuals in less than a year, worked with three organisations, including two long-term ongoing projects, and has built customised solutions for a community of 50 people.
During the second COVID-19 wave, it started offering free workshops and sessions to everyone. It saw more than 200 people register within a week of its launch. “Some of them are now our community members and continue to engage with us,” Daniel shares.
He believes in the post-pandemic world, people will be more open to mental health issues, and BecauseYOU expects to create an impact.
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Edited by Suman Singh