Hyderabad engineer Tharun Sai battled suicidal thoughts while preparing for IIT-JEE, which eventually led him to start ‘FindHope’, a mental health startup that helps students fight depression and loneliness.
Trigger warning: Mention of suicide
Engineer Tharun Sai’s Hyderabad-based platform ‘FindHope’ was born out of a need to ensure that no one ever experienced loneliness — a feeling he battled for most of his life. It was a series of events that led to the inception of the mental health endeavour.
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The gruelling preparation for the IIT-JEE exam coupled with the stress and isolation the pandemic brought with itself were among the few events. But the real jolt came when he watched some of his own college mates die by suicide.
“FindHope helps youth between the ages of 18 and 24 by connecting them with peers pursuing a master’s in psychology,” he explains. “These sessions are free and supervised by a therapist, benefiting both the individual seeking assistance and the counsellor, who gain valuable experience for their resumes.”
Tharun prides himself on FindHope being one of the only mental health startups funded by the Government of India. This, he says, has greatly boosted the plans for the initiative. One of the recent developments was the AI chatbot feature ‘Khushi’, which gives people tips to deal with stressors.
The entire process is customised, notes Tharun. “The chatbot will ask a couple of questions, take the data, assess it, and provide the person with some quick coping skills which will give them relief.”
To date, over 10,000 students have been helped, he further informs.
Edited by Pranita Bhat
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