As we brag about large percentage of youth among our population, India also ranks highly for increasing suicide cases in the world. The recent incidents of suicide by young Bollywood actors and teenage TikTok stars like SiyaKakkar have once again highlighted the need for emphasis on mental health. There is also an increasing need for online crisis resources for support especially in the post COVID times. YourDost is one such anonymous counseling platform that aims to combine technology and psychology to help youngsters.
The successful YourDost Co-founder, Richa Singh recently talked to our TechThirsty Editor, Nishtha Shukla about her entrepreneurial journey. Notably, Richa has also featured in the Forbes list of Top 30 Under 30 in 2017. She shared with us her story of setting up an anonymous counseling platform for individuals including homemakers, students, and professionals. She also reflected on how it was initially difficult to prove that a counseling enterprise also needs to be profit-making.
Here’s a quick sneak peek into Richa’s inspirational journey –
Richa begin her professional journey from the field of technology. She completed her graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. When asked about the idea and motivation behind YourDost, Richa recounted the incident of her own friend committing suicide back in her college days.
Richa shared how her friend had anticipated even before the campus placements begin that she won’t be able to get any good job. She further noted that their campus did have access to mental health professionals including counselors and psychiatrists. However, unfortunately because of the social stigma around mental health, not many would visit them.
Soon after completing her degree, Richa went on to join the industry and has worked with several firms including D.E. Shaw & Co. and Investopres to. She has also contributed towards product management in companies such as Mu Sigma, Web fluenz and o9 Solutions Inc. However, the incident of suicide by her college friend continued to remain in her mind.
Thus, she resolved to create a solution and fight against the stigma surrounding mental health. Thus, the idea of an anonymous counseling platform where people could freely seek support and guidance from professionals was conceived.
Richa Singh said that just like any other entrepreneur, being on a path less taken was definitely testing as a young entrepreneur. She added that the path was particularly challenging for them because of the social stigma that surround mental health in the country. However, she also expressed her satisfaction with the recent developments and increasing awareness in the past few years in the country.
Useful Insights and Tips for Buddying Entrepreneurs
Richa also noted, “Doing great and doing business can happen together.” She added that an organization working on a noble cause doesn’t always have to be a non-profit. It too can become a profitable business model with supporting people.
Starting with free counseling sessions to introducing paid counseling services, YourDost went ahead to also partner with several organizations as well as governments to make the platform self-sustainable. Consequently, the platform also began to study emerging trends and help corporates build better policies. Furthermore, as stigma, accessibility and availability came out to be the major challenges to seek help; technology emerged as a much-needed facilitator.
In her quick tips for budding entrepreneurs, Richa advised youngsters to begin with a problem that they deeply care about. She adds that make sure you are into entrepreneurship for the right reasons. She also emphasized on the need for perseverance to keep going as every entrepreneur is bound to face some tough days on their journey to success.
Do listen to the full interview for a lot more of such insights and tips from the young entrepreneur. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for tech videos and catch up on our Power Women series every Thursdays.