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Making a difference, mentally

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

Mental health affects lives of young and old alike. A study conducted in 2017 found that nearly 45.7 million people suffer from depression and 49 million from anxiety disorders. With the pandemic, this number has increased exponentially. One company is doing all it takes to make a difference in people’s lives. Read on to find out more…

When the pandemic started taking a toll on mental health of their loved ones, Sakshi Shah and Lawrence Bamania, both alumni of IIT-Kharagpur, took upon themselves to raise awareness about mental health issues. They founded GoodLives to familiarise people on mental health issues and their aftermath.

But spreading the message wasn’t as easy as the duo had imagined. Sakshi points out that people were scared to speak up. “People were unwilling to talk about mental health problems. Though some agreed that they were experiencing tough times, they were paranoid to seek help. The fear of being judged by their parents and friends lingered on,” she says.

Keeping these fears in mind, the company organised therapy sessions to involve and engage people. “We thought engaging people in talks will let them know that they are not alone and someone is there to help them. The prime idea to start this company was to make mental health solution affordable and accessible,” she adds.

The company till date, has made difference in lives of young and old alike. It uses an algorithm to allow users to find a specific therapist for their problems. This tool has been introduced after understanding that everyone’s struggles and sufferings are unique. The algorithm allows seekers to find a therapist basis their condition(s). A team of psychiatrists and psychologists are then assigned to seekers that marks the initiation of the session.

In every therapy, a therapist dedicates an hour to an individual, basis which a report is given and a further recommendation on therapies, if needed, is provided. Since solutions cater to mental health conditions, one size fits all does not apply.

“There is not a customised solution that can be adopted, as each case varies. It is only after understanding an individual’s problem(s), a therapy is suggested,” she says.

A typical session involves a therapist who listens to an individual’s problems and helps re-discover ways to improve the latter’s life. “While talk-based therapy is a popular form, expressive art therapy (drama, music and art) is also used in cases where a receiver is too shy to open up. The purpose of a session is to explain people how the world can be stabilised around them and what steps they can take at home to curb their anxiety levels,” she shares.

Mental health impacts interpersonal relationships, social circle, community and goals, cognitive and physical health. In children, the situation is equally bad. So, what steps should be taken to tackle this issue in children? Sakshi points out that there is a need to introduce mental health as a subject in schools.

“Though schools have counsellors who provide sessions to children, it is important to include mental health as part of their curriculum. It is also important to engage parents as well to develop an emotional quotient and create an understanding among them,” she says.

Every year, 10 October is celebrated as World Mental Health Day.

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