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Now, Counselling is just a Call Away for Stressed Professionals

This Entrepreneur says most calls come in from the age bracket of 18-35 and are mostly concerning relationships or marriages
Now, Counselling is just a Call Away for Stressed Professionals
Image credit: BetterLyf
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

According to a World Health Organization report, about 7.5 per cent of Indians suffer from some sort of mental illness or the other.

Therapy for mental well being, though still discussed in hush-hush tones because of the social stigma attached to it, has seen a change over the years.

Earlier it was just the professionals working in the sector, but now entrepreneurs and millennials in general have been waking up to the urgency of spreading awareness about mental health.

However, there are certain kinds of mental disturbances for which you might not need clinical psychiatric sessions, but you still yearn for an expert’s opinion.

A bad day at work or a break-up — we always want a friend to just vent those negative feelings or crib about how the situation is. But sometimes, we are not that lucky to have such friends around or the friends we have are too busy to cut out time for such private and sensitive conversations and sometimes we are too withdrawn to talk about their problems with anyone.  

This is where Vikram Beri’s BetterLyf comes in. A 24*7 platform, BetterLyf (previously called DialMyAngel) aims to offer support to the ones who need help or just want to talk out their distress.

Anonymity is the key

Beri was into the business of manufacturing farm equipments and his wife is a psychologist. Once while dropping his wife to a clinic, he noticed the obscure location of the same. Questioning his wife about the same, he got to know that the location was such because people do not want to be seen entering a counselor’s clinic. “There is taboo attached to the subject even now and anonymity is of extreme importance,” said Beri. And that’s how the idea to start a platform that helps people with counselling, came about.

“One of the major problems we noticed was that people didn’t want to reveal their identities. They didn’t want to be seen visiting a clinic. That’s when we decided to launch this platform. We are the world’s first and only instant helpline. Our counsellors are available 24*7 and our presence is global,” said Beri.

While they have local numbers of five countries listed on their website, they get callers from over 34 countries. That was the idea behind the initiative too, that people don’t have to move out of their comfort zone, all they need to do is place a call.

Creating Awareness

Considering that mental health needs a lot of awareness, Beri’s team works on generating a lot of content around the same. “People need to be conveyed and explained that they need help. An alarming issue is that when they seek help, they don’t know whom to go to or where to go to. We have created many awareness videos, testimonials and shared celebrity stories that show that it’s okay to ask for help,” he said.

One of the collaborative videos they did with comedian Amit Tandon went viral and they had over 30,000 visits to their website on the same day.

But Beri was also in for a lot of surprises. When they started, Beri thought they would be inundated with calls but that wasn’t the case. However, as things progressed they started getting more. Today, they get over 100-150 calls per day. “The biggest concerns come for relationships and marriages while most calls come in from the age bracket of 18-35,” he said.

Where They Cannot Help – A Challenge

At BetterLyf, they take in callers who have mild to moderate concerns and are non-clinical in nature. But it is important to have a clear demarcation of cases where they can’t be of help. “The fact is that we will be doing disservice to them if it is a clinical concern. It is unfair of us to help them, when what they actually need is a face-to-face session with a psychiatrist,” explained Beri.

Using Tech for Support

They have also implemented an online chat support, where one can fill in a questionnaire on their website. “The programme is designed to help you tap your inner strengths to overcome your concerns. It has proved to be as effective as face-to-face therapy,” he said.

Partnering with Paytm and Razorpay, while they offer the first call for free, the users can then sign up for sessions for INR 249 for 20minutes. “Most users call for one-two sessions depending on the case. However, there have been rare cases where someone has booked 40 sessions,” he said.

Edition: August 2017

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