2020 was undoubtedly a tumultuous year. With the persistent heath and financial crisis, there was a more extensive, looming question – what about the population’s mental health?
Self-isolation, financial worries, and health anxiety made people more stressed, in general. Moreover, the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and its apparent association with mental health put it in a more significant light, especially for a country that is unknown to the concept.
The startup ecosystem realised its importance in the country and worldwide, especially post the pandemic. Investors have invested nearly $1.5 Billion in 2020 alone in this industry. Several companies are making mental health more accessible while raising awareness at the same time.
Sarthak Biswas, an investment professional at Kae Capital, says, “There has always been a need for mental health platforms. However, it’s only recently that there’s a growing awareness, and people are talking about it. For instance, many corporates are now using their in-house capital to actively work on the wellness of employees, realising that mental health is important for productivity.”
Some mental illnesses are chronic, which need to be addressed by professionals. However, the numbers are striking; according to the WHO, there are 0.3 psychiatrists, 0.12 nurses, 0.07 psychologists, and 0.07 social workers per 100,000 people in India, although anything above three psychiatrists and psychologists per 100,000 people is preferable. Compared to the number of persons suffering from mental illnesses, the country has a severe deficit of psychiatrists and psychologists.
Moreover, there is much-untapped potential in the market for this industry. Bani Singh, a cofounder at Now&Me, a mental health startup, says, “Recently, mental health has become a topic of conversation by the masses. It has not been fully tapped in the country, and there is so much more that needs to be done. Feelings of social isolation are on the rise, and the hardest hit are young adults. And so, the community-based approach towards mental health that Now&Me has, plays an important role in tackling that loneliness. Our users come to the website with the hope that they can find like-minded people to express their feelings openly”. Her startup has raised a seed round of $1 Million by Saama and Whiteboard Capital.
The number of users on these startups has also risen, partly due to the startup’s age and pandemic anxiety. However, this growth has addressed one of the most critical issues of the day and age – mental health issues. With the focus on this industry, it is expected that there will be even more significant growth for it in the coming years.
Categories: Most Read: 2021-09 (September)