We intend to bring a lot of awareness on all mental health illnesses in order to accelerate acceptance of mental health as a key health component as physical health is for happy living, shares Teju Nageswari, Co-Founder and CEO, nSmiles.club with Elets News Network (ENN)
Please walk us through the reasons, both personal and professional, which propelled you to establish nSmiles.club?
There came a point in my life when I got into depression . That’s the start of me seeing value in counselling and therapy. Post recovery, we (my husband and myself) being engineers, did a thorough root cause analysis of what, where went wrong. We understood that mental health illness effects are so subtle and slow that it’s difficult to a common man to get the sense of it before it really starts impacting in a big way. We felt the need to educate others using technology as we are engineers. That thought gave birth to nSmiles.club, where our mission was to spread n (mathematical representation of number of) smiles in people’s lives. I took formal training in coaching and counselling to be able to provide best psychology solutions. We created an app based on our learnings. Happy Being App has got more than 1.5 lakh downloads and was on global top charts. Those massive more than 45,000 of positive feedback across globe spoke good about the concept and the need for instant help. We worked on the feedback and created a prototype on a Startup Weekend. As winners from Bengaluru, we participated in Global Startup Battle 2014 and were announced runner- up in Do the Kind Track (only start- up from India so far). Later, while designing our current assessment suites, to understand the behaviour and need for a product, we conducted interviews with more than 3,000 in the urban population.
Increased stress is affecting young people to such an extent that it is impacting their behaviour that need urgent attention by both policymakers & decision-makers. How is nSmiles.club addressing this challenge?
Stress is called a silent killer when it starts being detrimental to health. Stress is good when one can identify the reasons and the root causes along with coping mechanisms. Once you realise if your stress is self-induced or from outside sources and how it’s manifesting in your life, you will be able to better manage stress and is much easier to gain control.
nSmiles.club has come up with an assessment suite called “Stress Analysis and Management Tool”, which that can help an individual measure their levels of stress from various sources, such as home, society, health and workplace, along with measuring their stress-coping patterns. The tool takes 30 minutes to complete the assessment and provides a detailed report on how good/moderate/bad is one’s current stress along with a self- development plan for managing stress by enhancing one’s six dimensions of wellness – Intellectual, Social, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual and Occupational.
“Stress Analysis and Management Tool” provides everything that’s so personal, private and confidential to you.
What is the difference between ‘mental health’ and ‘emotional health‘ according to you? Is the latter the initial phase of mental diseases?
They both are synonyms and imply the same. Since there’s a stigma associated with the word mental health, as a more less-stigmatised option, people use emotional health to refer to their mental health.
With so much social stigma attached to ‘mental health’ and even ‘emotional health’, what measures have been undertaken by nSmiles.club, as an effective intervener, to address the challenge of elevating mental diseases from social stigma category to general diseases?
As all our services are offered online, the tools allow convenience, privacy and confidentiality. It’s on a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliant system, so a lot of security measures are undertaken to ensure safety and privacy. All our psychologists and consultants have more than 10 years of experience. All our assessments are highly handpicked, researched and clubbed to bring accurate, comprehensive analysis of an individual’s condition. We take a lot of time in designing our solutions. One word we wish our customers would associate with us is “Trust”. We are very proud when that’s get realised. Our customers trust us that we are there as their rock solid support when they need one and they necessarily don’t have to face the challenges life throws at them all alone. We intend to bring a lot of awareness on all mental health illnesses in order to accelerate acceptance of mental health as a key health component as physical health is for happy living. Currently, our total focus is on depression and anxiety. We wish to reduce 30 per cent depression and anxiety cases in India and equally reduce usage of psychiatric medication for depression and anxiety by providing early detection tools.
Mental Illness – Statistics
Please provide details of your assessment tools. Do you think people suffering from emotional crises or mental diseases are finally ready for assessment with the availability of digital tools that will ensure privacy?
To test the readiness of people on the subject of mental health and their acceptance for managing it on digital tools, we did experiments and the response was phenomenal. We had 1.5 lakh installs of our earlier app. People personally voted by going through all the process to make us win in the Global Start-Up Battle and later while piloting assessments also, we got similar response. Hence, we took enough measures to make it valuable of their time and money by making it a more comprehensive screening tool to check if their current stress levels are impacting their health, relationships, children, co-workers and happiness, especially for working professionals who are witnessing increased stress due to multitasking and rising expectations.
Overall, 87 per cent of Indian urban families are stressed, 85 per cent have strained relationships, 30 per cent have marital problems and 30 per cent addicted to substance. Depression is number 1 occupational disease and stress is the number 1 lifestyle risk factor. The latest research from NIMHANS confirms 50 per cent of corporate professionals suffer from some kind of mental health disorders and 1 in 10 Indians are depressed.
Our Stress Analysis and Management Tool first identifies the stressors in your life and coping mechanisms. Taking all your responses, it instantly provides a report that’s very non-threatening and detailed. Post going through a physical lab test, if one’s score is at risk, it shows as asterisk. Additionally, it identifies the need to reach out for external help if a couple of scores are at risk. For individuals who are already managing their stress at different levels well, the tool provides personal development and stress management through the wellness approach.