Mental health has emerged as an important issue that concerns society, different organizations, and the nation at large. Many individuals are regularly contending with serious issues related to mental wellness. Various organizations have emerged with the objective of providing counseling and emotional support to foster mental fitness.
YourDOST is one of India’s first and largest holistic emotional wellness organizations. It helps corporates, colleges, and government organizations to build resilient communities. The organization offers its consulting methodology to corporates, educational institutions, and government organizations to develop and execute their emotional wellness programs.
Team YourDOST caters to leading corporates, including BlackBuck, Capillary Technologies, CK Birla Group, and UpGrad. Leading educational institutions such as IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, and IIM Bangalore are also availing of the services of this company.
The company’s offerings include leadership programs, manager training, and specialized programs in the areas of addiction, sleep, and so on. It has partnered with 400+ clients, including corporates, educational institutions, and government organizations and has offered counseling services to over 20 lakh Indians to date.
Today, YourDOST has grown to become more than a blog and a professional help platform. It is on a mission to truly make a difference in India and the world. As a result, the company has evolved into a holistic emotional wellness organization working with corporates, educational institutions, incubators, and government agencies. It helps them take care of their communities’ emotional wellness. “We work with them through awareness modules, self-help tools, 1on1 counseling intervention, and organization-level diagnostic and reporting,” shares the management.
YourDOST has made rapid strides in the industry owing to the unwavering dedication and support of Richa Singh, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer and Puneet Manuja, Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer.
Richa Singh is the conceptualizer and CEO of YourDOST – India’s largest emotional wellness platform. She is an IIT Guwahati alumnus with a specialization in user experience design. Richa is a thinker as well as a story lover. She enjoys painting, drawing, dancing, and traveling. She is on a mission to eliminate the stigma attached to emotional wellness support.
Puneet Manuja comes from a consulting background with McKinsey & Company, where he serviced some of India’s top pharmaceutical and IT clients. He pursued his MBA from IIM Bangalore in 2012-14 after realizing that software development was not his calling. Puneet is on a mission to spread happiness, one smile at a time. He is a Computer Science graduate (Gold Medalist) from NIT Calicut and was felicitated with Forbes 30 Under 30 India.
The Inception of YourDOST
Given the stigma around mental health, the management did not want them to be bracketed into a clinic or a mental hospital. So, they chose the word DOST. “‘Dost’ in Hindi means friend and that’s exactly what we are. We are your expert friend who will stand by you in your time of need; a confidante who will hear you, support you and give you expert guidance minus any judgment,” share the co-founders.
Bringing Change through Inspiration
The management believes that since they’re working in a mental health and emotional wellness field, every YourDOST team member must be completely dedicated to the cause, devoid of any judgment and stigma. “As a leader, I openly share that I’m a prolific user of our platform,” says Richa. “We also regularly hold talks and workshops internally to spread awareness and education about mental health,” she adds.
This inspires the team members to become mental health advocates in their own right, and this shows in their absolute dedication to their work. They know that their work is helping people in their toughest times and even saving lives.
Facing Challenges Head On
Richa and Puneet state that none of them is from a mental health background. As a consequence, they learnt how important it is to learn about the sector one is working in. “As an ‘outsider,’ you bring a 3rd personal perspective which is an advantage as you don’t carry the biases that traditional members of the sector might carry,” expresses the management.
When they shared their idea in the early stages with mental health professionals, they came to the view that it’s ok to use technology to provide mental health support. They received encouragement too, but many members of the mental health community didn’t share their beliefs. There wasn’t any proven model that supported technology-based counseling.
Being one of the pioneers of providing online counseling, Richa and Puneet did not have a specific model to draw inspiration from. Due to this, they had a lot of critics just as much as they had supporters.
A lot of research, talking with various stakeholders, and a good amount of support from advisors helped them to reach where they are today.
Another important challenge for the organization was access to good quality psychologists. The management wanted to deliver top-quality mental health care to the users. Since they were not from a mental health background, it was initially difficult for them to get the best of the professionals for YourDOST. With the help of a group of qualified and experienced professionals, it was able to set up proper protocols and mechanisms to provide quality service to users through the experts.
Noteworthy Collaborations and Achievements
As a mental health organization, team YourDOST takes pride in the fact that it can impact all strata of society. It is helping students by tying up with colleges. Similarly, it is helping working professionals by joining hands with corporate organizations.
The company offers specialized programs to support specific sections such as entrepreneurs, elderly people, and so on. It works with the government and NGOs to support the underprivileged section as well.
Richa and Puneet are proud of the fact that they have a sustainable business model. “We still remember that when we started, the question for us all was: ‘will people be open to the idea of taking emotional wellness support?’ shares the management.
They add, “Although we had investors helping us, the question we as co-founders had was ‘can we create a sustainable business if we do not have investors?’ And today, we are super proud of the fact that we have been profitable as an organization for three years now.”
The company’s dedicated endeavors have been recognized by the Government of India. It has presented policy recommendations to the Hon’ble PM of India. Furthermore, YourDOST has been awarded the WTI award recently.
With 20 lakh lives touched and 350+ tie-ups, the team at YourDOST believes that it has just started to scratch the surface of the Indian population. It intends to reach out to more people and organizations to support them in building healthier and happier communities.
The company is not merely confined to supporting individuals in taking care of their mental health. It also intends to help corporates and colleges to bring structural changes to empower the communities to become self-sustainable in terms of emotional wellness.
Along with this, YourDOST also wishes to work with the government to make changes at the ground level. “Our interaction with PM Narendra Modi and the cabinet while presenting policy recommendations on the National Start-up Day boosted our confidence in solving the mental health needs of India,” shared the management.