How Startups are Using Technology to Spread Awareness About Emotional Wellness
Chatting with a psychologist gave her insights into her own personality and made her introspect about many issues in her life, both personal and professional. She figured in time that over the years, quite a few aspects of her personality and behaviour had changed, as deep down many issues had been ignored and unresolved, hoping time would provide some solution or respite. The therapist encouraged her to understand her situation in its proper perspective, be attentive to her thoughts, feelings and behaviour. She learned to accept her feelings for what they were and not deny them or ignore them. Over time, she began feeling comfortable with them and accepting them as part of of herself and slowly working around the issues and started feeling better. This in turn brought down her stress levels and helped maintain balance at work and with her social circle. Aditi had been suggested by her friends at college to meet the college
As per a recent countrywide study by National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS, Bangalore) at least 13.7 percent of India's general population has been projected to be suffering from a variety of mental illnesses and 10.6 percent of this requires immediate intervention. This proportion of the population currently suffering from a mental disorder requires an active intervention. This estimate includes a range of mental disorders F10 - F49 categories within the Summary 15 NMHS 2016 International Classification of Disorders (ICD -10). Translated to real numbers (based on weight age for different levels), nearly 150 million Indians are in need of active interventions. The report further says that ‘As per Global Burden of Disease report, mental disorders ac¬count for 13 percent of total DALYs lost for Years Lived with Disability (YLD) with depression being the leading cause’. The data reveals that the prevalence of mental morbidity was found to be quite high in metros with higher prevalence of schizophrenia, mood disorders and neurotic or stress-related disorders. These can be attributed to lifestyles, stress, and breakdown of support systems and economic challenges of surviving in a high cost urban environment. It was quite shocking to note that despite such large numbers, the health infrastructure hardly caters to this section and treatment gaps exist of over sixty percent exist for most mental health disorders. Due to the sigma attached with mental issues nearly 80 percent hardly receive any form of formal treatment for a long time. The health infrastructure in fact does not prioritize them in any way, as it is not a very economically paying proposition for the service provider. Severe paucity of specialists adds to the malaise and it’s become a vicious cycle of poor implementation of various government policies and programs under the national mental health programme.
Due to the stigma attached with mental issues, nearly 80 percent hardly receive any form of formal treatment for a long time. The health infrastructure in fact does not prioritize them in any way as it is not a very economically paying proposition for the service provider
It is here that the startups can pitch in using technology and reach to spread awareness of the need for emotional wellness as an integral part of overall wellness for an individual. The scale of the problem requires nationwide reach, in various regional languages with instant access and regular updation. The need of the hour is to evolve a robust and sustainable preventive mental health program which will acquaint people with tools to manage emotional wellness in their day to day lives, their careers, social spaces and personal lives. It is a mammoth task and requires people from all part of the country to be connected and interact with each other via the various platforms to address this severe issue facing the country. Startups have a very important role here in disrupting this space using new ideas to connect people, collect data, link users to service providers and help spread word to areas which are otherwise not accessible and linking qualified personnel to people in need of immediate help for their emotional needs. The anonymity of this entire process is a further benefit that helps in the user overcome the stigma attached to mental and psychological issues that have long plagued our population and pose a serious threat in the years to come.