Why do you want to be involved in this initiative?
I am interested in this project because it is the future of therapy – making therapy more accessible, affordable and more directed by the client. – Amulya R.
I want to be part of this project because it is a way to reach out to students who otherwise would have very little or no access to mental health solutions. – Lorraine Bellard Curran
How do you think this approach – technology-mediated mental health care – can benefit students?
The need for professional support in Anxiety alleviation has been long recognized. However the challenges involved in delivering this to young students in India is enormous. For the 1st time ever, this project is using modern technology and communication to reach out to young people. This will result in a significant increase in the number of people we can help. – Jaishree Narayan
The demand for mental health solutions is enormous when compared to the number of mental health professionals present in our country. If technology can be woven into mental health solutions then this gap can be bridged a little and it will benefit our young students. Students would have easy and private access to help that would otherwise be hard to attain. – Lorraine Bellard Curran
To me it seems like this program will help students be more self-sufficient and confident to solve their own issues with minimal external help in the future. Further, by taking therapy to students on a platform that they understand and enjoy, it may make it more approachable. – Amulya R.
The new approach will benefit the young, techno savvy generation, as they can access these services on the move. They will be more open to discuss their issues as they will not have to see someone in person and might be more able to express their feelings in a written form. This project also teaches students techniques they can refer to when they are faced with a similar issue. – Rekha Lagu
Guided self-help will definitely be lapped up by the students in India for the simple reason that it offers anonymity. Being raised to set aside your needs for those of others is ingrained in our socio-cultural set up. With the current evolution, the present generation is faced with immense stress which effects mental health. Students generally are not willing to share their concerns with family and friends. Online coaching offers the added benefit of a personal touch. – Kumudini Velanand
Indian students and professionals today are racing to keep abreast of the times – education here is a means to survival in an environment of intense competition. Therefore stress and anxiety levels are enormously high and the number of service providers are limited – even if one musters courage to seek help, as we are still far from total acceptance of mental health care. Guided self-help and online coaching will therefore be huge support systems. – Sheela Ramakrishnan
As a clinician working in this field, do you see potential in this approach of guided self-help / online coaching for India?
I think India as a country absorbs anything that has potential for growth. This project can help the growth of mental health solutions and in turn create an awareness for its necessity. – Lorraine Bellard Curran
This approach to therapy will be very useful for a country like India with its huge population, the high prevalence of stigma for seeking counseling/therapy, and the reach of technology here. – Amulya R.
The internet has revolutionized our lives in unimaginable ways. Finding ways to deliver services using technology will not only cut time, distance and costs, but also make services more accessible to those who cannot afford them otherwise. Bringing support in a very private and anonymous manner for emotional issues in a society that still looks at mental health care as a stigma will be welcomed by students as well as others. With internet penetration at a very high level in India I see this platform reaching out to students in remote parts of the country with limited services and also to young professionals in the corporate sector who are under immense stress. So there is scope of both great depth and breadth – small modifications can be made to the program accordingly. All in all – if costs are kept reasonable – using the internet is the way to widen scope of counseling and coaching services. – Sheela Ramakrishnan