Thursday, March 24, 2016
MY STORY: A Friend’s Suicide Led This IIT Alumnus to Touch 2 Lakh Lives with a Unique Platform - Better India
In the MY STORY section, we present some of the most compelling and pertinent stories and experiences shared with us by our readers. Do you have something to share? Write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org with “MY STORY” in the subject line.
I encountered a life changing event when I was in college. One of my hostel mates at IIT Guwahati committed suicide because she was worried about her placements and was under excessive stress. Surprisingly, she did not show any visible signs of depression before that day. She never spoke to anyone about her concerns and the fact that she could take such a drastic step was beyond my imagination. To witness something like this from such close quarters raised many questions for me. How can someone take such a drastic step in spite of having access to a well-qualified counsellor within the campus?
I just could not understand why, and my curiosity led me to continue researching on the issue even after completing graduation.
And I found the answer in the taboo associated with mental health in India. I could see people who were stressed and worried everywhere around me. The statistics around depression and mental health in the country was even more alarming. One person out of every 10 in India is depressed and that is an extremely shocking number. I sensed that people wanted to share their worries but they couldn’t find anyone to confide in. Moreover, many people did not want others to know about their condition because they were worried that if people found out, they would be considered insane. This ignorance made caused many people to keep their stress to themselves.
That was how my perseverance and belief in the need of a system that could help everyday people improve their mental health, led me to start YourDOST – an online emotional wellness coach. With YourDOST, anyone in need of emotional support, mental wellness, self-improvement, personality development, etc. can easily talk to experts. Users can sign up anonymously and express their concerns before practicing psychologists, counsellors, career experts, and mentors.
By effectively utilizing technology, YourDOST is able to address two very critical aspects of seeking mental and emotional wellness – accessibility and anonymity.
In short, YourDOST is an online friend for people in need. We help people boost their confidence, build stronger relationships and overcome everyday problems better. Today, YourDOST has around 200 experts, 20 full time employees and we have already touched more than 2,00,000 lives.
I know that there is a long way to go before we completely end the stigma around mental health in India. But after reaching this stage, I also know that there is no stopping us. YourDOST will continue marching on this mission and touching more lives.
– Richa Singh