HealthEminds aims at 2K online therapy sessions each month

HealthEminds aims at 2K online therapy sessions each month

At her multi-speciality clinic in Whitefield, Bengaluru, Dr Sunita Maheshwari noticed that the counsellors there are not that busy, as they should be, given the high incidence of depression and stress in India.

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) study, India is home to the largest number of depressed individuals. The WHO World Mental Health Survey 2010, also lists suicide as the third largest cause of death among the age group of 15–35-years. India accounts for 32% of the world’s suicides.

With domain expertise in the use of technology in healthcare, and her experience in teleradiology solutions that she and her husband Dr Arjun Kalyanpur founded, there came the idea of tele-counselling to help patients with mental health needs.

Both Dr Sunita and Ankita Puri co-founded Bengaluru-based HealthEminds, which is a telemedicine venture working in the field of psychology towards building an ecosystem of mental wellbeing by way of offering counselling services. The startup provides video counselling while keeping the identity of the caller anonymous. It charges anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per session depending on the professional. It aims to do at least 2,000 online therapy sessions each month on the platform.

 “We are spreading awareness about various mental health concerns and issues using technology. We are a tele-counselling service where patients can access counsellors for their mental health issues from the privacy of their home,” HealthEminds Head of Counselling Aruna Arumugum told DH.

“We believe in a holistic approach and provide various types of psychiatry and counselling services which are integrated with a secure and confidential online technology platform. We have in-house counselling psychologists and associated consultants consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, life coaches, nutritionists, and alternative therapists spread across India and abroad,” Aruna added. HealthEminds works with 60 mental healthcare professionals nationally, and is targeting to increase this number to 200 by the end of the calendar year. Apart from self-funding by both — Dr Sunita and Dr Kalyanpur, the startup also received undisclosed funding from cricketer Robin Uthappa and Tennis player Arjun Goutham.

On challenges, Dr Sunita said, “The experience has been both challenging and rewarding. Challenging for two reasons: not everyone is open to the idea of counselling, and those who are not always open to the idea of online sessions and prefer face-to-face. However, it has been a rewarding experience again for two reasons: scaling access to counselling that has been a taboo culturally in India, and being among the first online tele-counselling ventures in India offering people a safe, secure and supportive solution to their mental health needs.”

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