Bengaluru: Online counselling for mental illness gaining popularity
Based out of Bengaluru, YourDost, a leading online counselling and emotional wellness and mental health platform has supported over 2 million people since its inception in 2015
Bengaluru: Based out of Bengaluru, YourDost, a leading online counselling and emotional wellness and mental health platform has supported over 2 million people since its inception in 2015. 55% of its users are working professionals. "In the past 6 months, we have supported over 50,000 people through our platform.
More than 10% of these are from Bengaluru (roughly about 5,000 in the last 6 months). And 55% of our users are working professionals. The top issues/concerns discussed by them are around work-life balance/ time management/ burnout (these are interrelated), anxiety management, relationships (personal life) and confidence issues/ assertiveness," Richa Singh, Co-Founder and CEO, YourDOST said.
Elaborating further on the issue she pointed out that the student population, about 40% of platform users, also had concerns related to placement/ career worries and difficulty in adjusting to the online mode of studying/ exams apart from the above common issues of anxiety and relationship with parents.
During the lockdown hospitals reported high cases of substance addiction.
Singh observed that two types of cases related to substance addiction: one was the increased dependence on alcohol and smoking as one of the means of stress management.
"This is seen because the natural support systems are missing and the stress/ anxiety levels are at an all-time high. The other type was where there were withdrawal symptoms, especially in the segment (students, young working professionals) who had to limit/ eliminate the alcohol/smoking consumption as they were staying with their families. Some of these also contributed to adjustment issues at home (with partners or parents)," she said.
It is usually perceived that face-to-face counselling is more effective than the virtual. Singh explains that online counselling has a major advantage of mass reach and anonymity.
"No one will spot you on your way to a counselling clinic and judge. Given the stigma in our society pertaining to mental wellness, online becomes the main source of solution. With the improving technology and hassle free video calls, it is bound to make the online experience seamless and as close as possible to an in-person counselling session. In addition to reducing stigma, online counselling also improves the accessibility (you can speak to the best counselor in India) and affordability (because of low capital expenses and better utilisation of an expert's time)."
"Having said that, online is not a replacement for face-to-face session. For severe cases, face-to-face/video can be recommended to the clients and both modes can work together seamlessly to create an effective solution," she stated.
Dr. Suraj Baliga, co-founder, Clinikk Healthcare opined that mental health conversation has come forward while the businesses have made a transition from work from the office to work from home. Suggesting the way forward to promote mental health awareness at the workplace, he said, "Provide your employees with a space to have virtual fun.
Encourage them over the weekends to indulge in some non-work activities along with their colleagues. It's a great team-building activity as well. Support the use of non-work channels to let the employees interact with one another. Some of the employees have returned to their hometown and are working remotely; some are not living with their family. Encourage them to get on video calls with their friends or family once in a while, and this will help them with their emotional well-being."
"While having solutions and tools is always good, it is equally important to promote the mental health conversation among your employees. Ask them to seek help and support them with mental health experts. Ensure you regularly catch up with employees to know how they are coping and if they require any support. This gesture will help them realise that they are being cared for," he further added.
Vivek Slaria founder of GreenLattey and TWChallange (Life Coach) on World Mental Health Day opined that mental health is as important as physical fitness is.
"When body fatigue causes physical illness, we are cured through medicines or other remedies. At the same time, mental fatigue can make us mentally ill. Our attention does not go towards being mentally unwell. Many times our anxiety about studies or workload, relationship cracks, career stresses us and if it lasts for a long time, it can turn into depression.
In such a situation, awareness of mental health is very important. Our young generation across the globe is experiencing mental health problems. They can take a few simple steps on mental health by doing Yoga, Meditation, Exercise, Good Diet, spending time with family and friends, Be creative, make a balance between work and play and stay positive," he said.