Organisations, including 1to1help.net, YourDost and Moodcafe, that are founded by IIT alumni have brought technology into mental health and are driving unique initiatives to reach out to thousands of people who are highly vulnerable to suicide. And, what is common to these founders is that they have all seen stress, depression, and even suicide at close quarters during their days at the IITs — a factor that inspired them to set up ventures in this space.
1to1help.net, co-founded by IIT Roorkee alumnus Anil Bisht and wife Archana, has till date, completed 600,000 counselling sessions and serviced over 1.8 million employees at 400 Indian and multinational enterprises.
“We are the only EAP (employee assistance programme) organisation in the mental health space in India that has a proprietary suicidal risk prevention protocol in place. This has helped us successfully address over 4,000 suicidal risk cases,” says Anil Bisht.
The leading EAP provider plans to expand into more business segments and introduce additional services that will further help the emotional well-being of employees.
According to a 2018 World Health Organization report, India is the most depressed country in the world, with at least 6.5% of the population suffering from some form of serious mental disorder. On World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), it is important to note that every hour a student commits suicide in India.
IIT Guwahati alumnus Richa Singh, who runs emotional wellness platform YourDost, had a friend commit suicide fearing a bad placement. IIT Roorkee-IIM Ahmedabad graduate Mikul Patel who co-founded mental health startup Moodcafe with fellow IIT-R grad Rahul Ratan Mirdha, also had a friend who attempted to commit suicide.
Moodcafe is a free, anonymous chat platform where users on the app can connect with trained listeners and communicate with them, much like through WhatsApp.
The startup, says Patel, is also associated with a suicide prevention centre, the Vandrevala Foundation that provides help when immediate intervention is needed.
Moodcafe recently organised a first-of-its-kind ‘time donation’ camp where individuals donated time and were provided with training to hear out other people’s problems. The startup — director-writer Homi Adajania and Rajnish Dhall, founder of Micro Housing Finance Corporation are among its seven investors — has had over 10,000 users so far.
It is now working on tie-ups with corporates, educational institutions and the government. On the cards are workshops at the Bank of Baroda, the Bajaj Group and even the police force in Gujarat. “We intend to move actively to complete healthcare services and even provide quarterly analytics to corporates to suggest areas of work,” says Patel.
Given the stigma in India around seeking mental help, anonymity helps. YourDost provides a technology platform where people can anonymously seek support and guidance from 1,000-plus trained psychologists, counsellors, career coaches and life coaches.
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
- IIT Guwahati signs MOU with IIT (BHU) Varanasi to offer Joint Doctoral Programmes
- IIT Madras students get more PPOs this year
- Pilot project on teaching in Hindi to begin at IIT BHU
- IIT Kharagpur launches telemedicine software
- PM Narendra Modi to address IIT2020 global summit
- IIT Roorkee receives 7 international offers until Day 3 of placement