Now, Counselling is just a Call Away for Stressed Professionals
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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the friends we have are too busy to cut out time for such private and sensitive conversations and sometimes we are too withdrawn to talk about their problems with anyone.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.
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 that they can seek help for day to day stresses as well and not wait for a problem to become chronic before reaching. Another challenge is, someone who needs help, doesn't often know where to go. We have created many awareness videos, testimonials and shared celebrity stories that show that it’s okay to ask for help,” he said.
Comedian Amit Tandon spoke about growing concerns like peer pressure and the video resonated very well with the audience. So much so that 30,000 people visited the website and appreciated the initiative, some actually sought help.
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 and about 125-175 chats 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
Wanting to build something that people can use easily over and over, BetterLYF came out with Wellness Exercises which combine the power of interactive multimedia with scientifically tested therapy methods for fighting Stress & Anxiety. This innovative self-help program gives you practical tools for building self-confidence, healthy relationships, overcoming anxiety, and coping with stress.
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 20 minutes. “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. As we get busier and have less time for ourselves and well being, here's a venture that tries to make lives better.