Depression is not a phase but an issue that needs urgent attention. Here is a mobile app that helps you fight depression without revealing your identity. From talking to peers to getting expert advice, help is now just a click away!
Every year, thousands of teenagers commit suicide just after their board exam results, many young boys and girls choose death as an easy escape after a heartbreak and many people just spend the major part of their lives in depression.
While a possible solution can be to go to a psychiatrist but probably the best way to come out of it is to be around people who you can talk to and share your troubles with. But mental illness is one thing that people still do not feel comfortable talking about in the open.
Introducing nSmiles, an initiative that enables users to share their issues anonymously and also gets them access to expert and peer advice.
“350 million people in the world are depressed, 3 million are addicted and 1 in every 40 seconds there’s someone committing suicide. All these growing numbers point to the importance of nurturing Emotional Health. Anxiety, panic attacks or stress is not symbol of weakness. It’s a wakeup call to take care of emotional health. Lack of awareness or formal education on emotional wellness, social fears to seek help and unavailability of experts during the time of need are possible reasons why one neglects it,” says Nageshwari BH, founder, nSmiles.
When Nageshwari’s relative was going through depression, she realised the seriousness of the issue. She also saw some friends going through the same. That is when it struck her that depression is not just a phase but it is a critical condition which needs to be talked about.
“I started researching on the issue, talked to a lot of psychiatrists, met many patients and did a lot of research on the current situation and I was surprised to see that depression is so highly ignored in our society. People feel ashamed to talk about it,” she says.
She then decided to come up with a platform that can give patients a chance to interact with each other, consult the counsellors and share their troubles.
“People do not know where to go and share their concerns. Even if one wants to go to a rehabilitation centre, there is a waiting list for three to four months and not everyone is capable of spending so much,” she says.
She designed a prototype app called “Happy Being” which is an interactive app that enables people to relive their happy moments, share their concerns and even take expert advice without having to reveal their identity.
“The app requires you to populate it with your own material. That is how it gives a personal experience. If you are sad you can go through some of the happy videos, photos, moments fed by you in the app. As the doctors say, it only takes 10 seconds to flip your mood from positive to negative and vice versa,” Nageshwari says.
“I just designed the rough prototype, but it was an instant hit. Over 1,25,000 people downloaded it which gave me a boost that this can actually work and I started working on its improved version,” she says.
But her initial success did not stay for too long as not being from the industry she did not know how to retain people. She then created an updated version of the app and participated in the Global Startup Battle where her initiative was declared a runner up. Using the updated app, people can also book appointments with the experts by paying a nominal fee.
“It was again a confidence booster and the updated app was downloaded by over 1,50,000 people on iOS and over 35,000 people on Google Play,” she says.
Nageshwari is now working to expand this model and has six people on board which includes experts, counselors and psychiatrists. She is now working to create a fully functional website that can be a go-to source for all people suffering from depression.
In the future, she wants to create centres in each state of India where people can get access to quality therapy, counselling and expert advice. “I want to make treatment of mental illness more accessible and want people to talk about it,” she says.
“The seed capital will be initially used to make a website, create awareness, organise campaigns and pay the experts who have come on board. This is just a one-time investment. I want to make this model a self sustainable one and not like an NGO. That is why I was very clear that this will be a private limited company,” she says.
You can download the “Happy Being” app on Google Play here. To know more about their work, check out their website.