In a recent shocking account, a Hyderabad-based techie, a startup founder, ends his life after his social networking App he’d been working on for over 2 years had failed to produce the desired results – and the whole startup eco system suddenly comes alive! And not just this, with scores of startups biting the bullet every month or so, Mentagram, a Mental Health App, comes as a panacea by helping not just working professionals, but the general populace cope with the wear and tear of excruciating mental stress. Team ‘By The Startups’ caught up with the founder team of Mentagram: Dr. Dhaval Mody and his better half Dr. Bhavi Mody, that recently emerged winner in a startup pitch event organized by the Startups Club in Mumbai. Here’s an excerpt of Dr. Dhaval Mody’s interview as he talks about the couple’s challenges, vision and success story.
Tell us about yourself and your role in the development of your initiative.
I am Dr. Dhaval Mody, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with a clinical practice of more than two decades. As founder and managing director of Edupsyche, my primary role is to translate my ideas into tangible technology which would change the way mental health is addressed and serviced globally. With my experience of not just practicing psychiatry, but also training and teaching doctors and mental health professionals, I realized the vast gap between people requiring mental health services and those offering it. My passion for technology helped me conceive and produce the app ‘Mentagram’.
What is ‘Mentagram’ and what problem does it solve?
Mentagram, our mobile app, seeks to take Telepsychiatry and Telecounseling a step further by equipping individuals to make informed decisions of their mental health and help creating happier individuals and families. This will reduce the financial impact that poor mental health can have on the productivity of the country. Mentagram is working to bring all mental health services on an app making it highly accessible, affordable and available to all.
Right, in recent times, a Hyderabad-based techie ended his life after his social networking app he’d been working on for over 2 years failed to take off. Do you think it could have been averted and how?
Undoubtedly, the stress of an entrepreneur is huge as he/she is riding on all that he has based on an idea or concept that he believes in. Having said that, I will also accept the fact that our country is more accepting of startups now than earlier, and there is a lot of scope for one to grow, fail and grow again. It helps if you have the support of your family and team members. Also coming from the mental health domain, we maintain and help other co-startups to remain objective in differentiating between personal growth and failures and that of the company.
What do you think, in your hindsight, are the psychological issues faced by the Startup community and how do you intend to alleviate or bring them down?
Startups have an added burden of proving that their concept is not only unique but can grow into a thriving business. There are many aspects to be taken care of i.e. financial, technological, human resources and networking. To get everything working like clockwork can take a while and seems like eons in startup time zones. This brings on significant stress, anxiety, depression and many other negative emotions. Conflict resolution and problem solving become major challenges within team members, vendors, etc.
We help co-startups through various mentoring platforms to help them understand how they can deal with their emotions effectively and take one day at a time. We also organize moderated self-help groups of startup members where they can talk about what they are going through emotionally and how they deal with it. Peer and group learning happens through the sharing, and the moderator then helps them with a healthy and positive way to deal with it.
Enumerate the various highlights of Mentagram and how it can impact the Startup community.
Mentagram provides users the convenience of facilities for booking online appointments, Video Consultation, Audio Call, Texting, seeking online tests and storing mental health records online for entire family, seeking prescriptions as well as medication – all in one place.
If statistics suggests one in every four corporate employees goes through some mental health issue, then I’d peg almost every startup member as someone going through significant anxiety and stress. Getting a consult at times of despair may really be beneficial to such individuals. We have also suggested having moderated groups for lending an empathetic ear and peer learning.
What are the features that you intend to integrate in future?
We are looking to make this app more client focussed thus incorporating more features for engagement and feedback on individual’s mental health and progress.
Who are the founders and key team members?
Dr.Dhaval Mody, Founder and Managing Director of Edupsyche, is a post graduate in Psychiatry with over two decades of clinical, academic and research experience. He is a Ph.D Scholar from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. A professor with MUHS, Faculty ROTP project Govt of India. A teaching faculty for counselling and clinical psychology across colleges in Mumbai. He has conceptualized Mentagram and been an instructional engineer to the in-house IT Team. With his vast experience in Mental Health and IT, he has been able to envisage and address all possible issues which has made Mentagram the comprehensive solution it is.
Dr.Bhavi Mody, Co-founder and CEO of Edupsyche, core skillsets include Medical Practice, blogging, content development. With the experience of running an IT company in her belt, she oversees development and effective execution of various IT enabled mental health solutions. A stronger believer in the power of the Internet, Bhavy is the face of the company and is the point of contact for potential investors.
Ms Supriya Das, Head of Operations at Edupsyche, has Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology & Business Management. She is currently involved in the business expansion activities of the organization. She brings in her expertise of working with corporates as well as academicians to develop new areas of growth for the company. She looks after the business tie-ups with the various service providers and is involved in designing and executing the marketing strategies for client acquisition.
Sandip Rabade, IT Head at Edupsyche, has a Masters in Computer Applications with over 5 years of work experience. She has the experience of working across different architectures like .Net, PHP and working on Windows and Linux platforms. He is spearheading the in-house IT Team as well as external vendors.
Tell us about the mental health app market globally. How do you envisage its growth in our country?
In the US the doctor patient ratio is 1:12600, where as in India the ratio is 1:343000. Despite the numbers, Telepsychiatry is an established model in the US. In India, only 10% of the 75 million people suffering from mental health issues have access to mental health. A mental health mobile app would provide a viable solution to ensuring access to mental health to all strata of society nationally. As WHO mentions 1 out of 5 Indians suffer from depression, hence if mental health is made available, it will grow exponentially.
What is your greatest competitive advantage?
Currently, we definitely have the first mover advantage as no other app is providing all the services that Mentagram caters to. From providing educative information to consulting top experts, taking assessments online and getting psychiatric medication delivered at home, Mentagram caters to the entire ecosystem. The numerous tie-ups with global leaders is indication that Mentagram is offering the best in class services.
Who are the major players in this area? How do you deal with competition?
We are happy to have other mental health service providers like Healtheminds and Epsyonline, Mind Matters Online and Your DOST. We all have a lot of work to do before we can actually see the change. Currently, we have reached out to our psychiatric and psychological professional fraternity who are happy to join hands to tackle this mammoth task of catering to a population of 72 million Indians requiring mental health assistance. It’s good to have competition. It makes you deliver your best.
Tell us about the registration process and what is your revenue model, as of now, to sustain your efforts.
Users can download the app and register either as a mental health professional or a user for free. In-app purchases include consultations with a psychiatrist and psychologist, clinical assessments, and medication. The portal has an aggregator handling fee and a revenue sharing model with our partners.
Where do you see yourself and your initiative, say 5 years from now?
We have a couple of ideas in the pipeline and are working on a few collaborations that will greatly benefit individuals who are in need of mental health services. We aim to be the one stop mental health solution for individuals. We look to ‘remolding, redefining & refining’ mental health services globally.
Get in touch with team Mentagram at firstname.lastname@example.org