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Richa Singh’s , “YourDOST” originated out of a personal experience and therefore it is not just a business for her.
When she was studying at IIT Guwahati, one of her hostel-mate committed suicide due to anticipation of bad placement. None of them had any clue of her suffering before she took such a drastic step. Even though they had campus counselors, psychologists, hardly anyone was seeking their support/help.
When she started working, people around her were stressed due to job pressures and relationship issues. However again, she felt that most of these people were not willing to talk about their problems fearing social implications and for the fear of being called mentally ill. “And that’s when I decided that a change is needed and it should happen through me. This is when I conceptualised the platform YourDOST – your emotional wellness coach” says Richa
The day I shared her idea with Satyajeet( co-founder) , he started coding to make the YourDOST website, and within 24 hours we had it up! That is how the idea started shaping up into a technology product, says the founder
With a few hurdles that came their way in terms of moving to India became a serious roadblock to scaling their technology. They were fortunate to discuss the idea with Prakhar (ex-Capillary). He joined their mission and helped them take their product to the next level.
In order to understand an individual’s mental state, it is very important to know the basics of human psychology. Both Richa and Puneet started this business without having any academic qualification in Psychology. Not coming from the field of psychology was a drawback initially. So, they decided to approach many psychologists. They used to ask them about their cases and write blogs about it. Richa was fascinated, how helpful they can be only if people approached them.
According to statistics atleast 50 million people suffer from mental illness in India. Mental health is a really pressing issue which needs to be addressed with immediacy. Indian women are more prone to mental illness compared to Indian men.
Through YourDOST, anyone going through any emotional problems or anyone wanting to seek guidance or help on self improvement, or issues pertaining to relationship, career, parenting, etc. can chat with our experts anytime, anywhere, while being completely anonymous.
This Startup has experts that can help one develop:
- Healthy personal relationships
- A productive and satisfying work-life balance
- A more focused approach towards achieving your goals
- A more confident self
- The ability to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and pressures of all kinds and from many sources – personal, societal, peer, etc.
Seeking counselling in India is a stigmatised concept thus has many taboos attached along. It becomes harder for Indian women to deal with the society in case she plans to visit a doctor for her “mental” issues. But, this Indian startup appeared as an approachable platform for the people seeking help.
When we hear the word “mental” we instantly associate it with madness and insanity. As a result, seeking mental counselling is a huge taboo in our society. Seeking support is considered a sign of weakness. Most of the times, we keep our problems to ourselves because we are not very comfortable accepting our vulnerabilities. There are issues of discovery and availability also present with searching for a relevant counselor nearby.
“Yourdost” believes that technology is a potential contender for filling these gaps – especially anonymity and reach. With the effective use of technology, they made expert help widely and instantly available to people looking for emotional and mental wellbeing. And people can do so confidently while being completely anonymous.
They even wrote stories, case studies, also did videos, etc. which helped in breaking the taboo. Over the course of 1.5 years of our journey, over 2,00,000 people have sought guidance and support using their website/platform. They have a ‘freemium’ model for our business – Where primary features like text based consultants, live chat or messages are free for the user. A few premium features like Audio and Video calls are paid at nominal amount of around Rs. 500/- as opposed to the market price of 1500/- per session.
In this complex world, which is full of stress, one should not keep their worries or problems to themselves. Discuss and seek guidance or support as needed. And take actions sooner. Just like a physical ailment, mental health should not be overlooked. A slight delay can also aggravate it. Opening up really helps. It could be family, friends, etc. And if you have never tried talking to a psychologist, do it once. It may help you in ways your family and friends may not be able to. You will see a difference in yourself. All you need to do is take the first step.
Feministaa thanks Richa Singh for sharing her story with us !!