TalktoAngel slashes taboo on mental health and provides help

▴ TalktoAngel Slashes Taboo on Mental Health and Provides Help
Instead of attaching a stigma to Mental Health Issues, TalktoAngel and get affordable therapy sessions.

The Covid 19 pandemics have exposed the deep vulnerabilities and inherent gaps of India's healthcare system. The outbreak of covid 19 poised both a challenge and an opportunity for Indian healthcare startups. Despite several inherent challenges, startups promptly engage themselves and develop solutions for the COVID-19 applications in the areas of prevention, detection, disruption, management, and operational efficacy, and have provided innovations in medical goods and services. So, we at Medicircle present the Healthcare Startup Series wherein we interview the healthcare startups which have shined through in this pandemic.

Mr. Arpit Suri is the Co-founder of TalktoAngel. Along with being a successful business executive, he is also a successful healthcare leader. TalktoAngel aims to globally provide counselling and consultations along with improving accuracy in medical diagnoses. TalktoAngel also aims to provide remote medical counselling. It is a mental health platform located in Delhi but plans to tackle worldwide challenges of mental stress and problems. It takes into account individual and family’s emotional, behavioural, economic, social, physical and spiritual well being.

TalktoAngel tackle Covid given Stress

On the topic, Mr Suri says, “As we are all aware, nationally and internationally, everyone is facing COVID. Going through this is not easy. When it started last year our platform was relatively small. We had been only a year old. But we tried to help. Accessibility and affordability became our main purpose. We tried to provide affordable mental health even though the subject is considered taboo. In our country, there is still a social stigma attached to it. We try first to make people aware of mental health to not make it taboo. We try to structure ourselves around this.”

Adding, “Last year when the pandemic started, for three months we provided counselling services for absolutely free and zero cost. We achieved one lakh counselling. Even after thighs are getting normal we provide discounts. We have tried to help many people. There are many who are facing grief and loss. What we are now observing, because everything is reopening, many are facing anxiety. To help people cope up with this we have started our webinar series with a frequency of 15 days. So we are aiming to create awareness so that it is no longer taboo. Once the stigma attached to it goes away, my venture could then find a way to move ahead.”

TalktoAngel is Customer Friendly

Suri speaks, “Speaking on the issue of customer approachability and affordability, he tells, “WHO mentions that in India there are 0.003 skilled psychologists per 1000 population. This is a very low number. Here we are trying to build a gap between the mental health worker and the patient. Others are doing it through WhatsApp, Zoom or Google but we have created our own platform through which they can take counselling. We do not take help from any third party. It's our own platform, a self-curated one so that everything remains 100% private and confidential. Even as a co-founder I wouldn’t know the details of the conversation between the patient and the doctor. Nowadays data privacy is an important factor for many. This safety was especially needed in the mental healthcare space, so we have delivered on it. When it comes to affordability, we have a range of prices going from 425 (after discount) to 4000 rupees depending on the therapist and their experience.”

TalktoAngel Tries to Bridge Gap Between Patient and Psychologist

He mentions, “Initially we faced problems finding good psychologists. But one advantage that we had is that we have a good mentor. He has around 37 years of experience. He has worked closely with our ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He has helped us a lot and he is heading our training therapists for talktoAngel. With the help of our mentor, we now have 150 plus therapists including relationship counsellors, psychologists, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. After the Government of India provided telemedicine guidelines, we started T-Psychiatry. We started t-psychiatry. We have a special thing for those who want to have a meditation. So after taking the consultation they can go and download their prescription and they can easily take the medicine from a chemist.”

Mental Health Issues of Children

Mr Suri asserts, “I believe these are mental issues and not a mental illness. Something like depression is very common given the circumstances. But we handle many issues like ADHD, child-parent counselling, bipolar, OCD and many more. Nowadays OCD is now on the rise as many are obsessed over getting their hands washed. Or taking showers four times a day. OCD, anxiety and stress are very high currently due to Covid-19. We even deal with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and eating disorders. If one goes to our website then they can easily get access to all our areas of expertise. Over there we have defined it in layman terms to make it understandable for the common man. We provide symptoms and the best thing we have is self-assessment. With this, the person can self analyse and realise if they are suffering from any issues or not. If they find their issue then they can proceed to get the therapy session.”

Finances of TalktoAngel

He tells, “We are bootstrapped. We are looking for funding. Our future plans are to introduce new technology for artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. We are planning to get AI involved. From what I understand is that there are three stages of depression. That person would want to find solutions via the internet. His second option would be to consult friends and family.  Then the third step comes where one seeks professional help. What we want to do is to get them from step 1 to step 3. Abroad, people directly seek help from therapists. In India, the person would first be in denial of his mental health issues and then he/she would go through the above three steps. We are trying to bridge this gap and offer more affordable counselling options. The sessions are around 45 minutes long. If you do the math, then it is around Rs 10 per minute.”

Reasons behind a Mental Health Startup

Revealing his motives, he offers, “I have myself undergone this. Four years ago, I had depression because of my CA examination. While I was in my final, I failed and that caused me depression. At that time, my father, also a clinical psychologist, supported me and that helped me. It left with me a feeling that I was lucky to have him. But many are not fortunate and would not have the same guidance. This motivated me and I started this venture with my father and my mentor. Our venture really picked up after Covid but we’ll try to take this to new heights. We would like to reach many countries at an affordable rate.”

(Edited by Priyal Shah)

Contributed by: Arpit Suri

Tags : #Top-Innovative-Healthcare-Startup-Series #arpitsuri #talktoangel #startups #healthcare #mentalhealth #smitakumar #medicircle

About the Author

Priyal Shah

Priyal Shah is a graduate of Media from Mithibai College, Mumbai. She is a writer, researcher and avid reader.

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