Happy Minds: Bridging the Mental Health Gap

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Happy Minds: Bridging the Mental Health Gap

The social start-up provides inclusive support and raises awareness regarding mental health

BY Newbiz team

As an international student working in London's pharmaceutical market research industry during the pandemic, Shreeya noticed that her mental health was taking a toll on her peace of mind. Factors like the uncertain future, limited social interaction, excessive exposure to negative news on media, and other triggers hindered her ability to perform even the basic tasks. Looking to seek support from Nepali mental health professionals, Shreeya turned to online resources in Nepal. Unfortunately, she was disappointed to find that there was no dedicated online support system to connect with Nepali counsellors. Motivated by the urgent need for digital mental health counselling and its gap as well her experience, Shreeya launched Happy Minds in 2021. Happy Minds started as an online platform aimed at raising awareness about psychosocial well-being and connecting Nepali individuals worldwide with mental health professionals. “We intended to create a global community where people prioritise their mental health as much as their physical well-being,” she added.

Reflecting on her journey thus far, Shreeya expresses her excitement and gratitude for establishing a mental healthcare organisation in Nepal. The primary focus of Happy Minds has always been on providing an inclusive service that addresses the struggles of the community. Over time, the start-up has expanded its services to include in-person appointments and actively seeks partnerships with corporates and colleges to make mental healthcare free and accessible service to all. Happy Minds currently provides counselling in Nepali, Newari and English, with handicap-accessible counselling rooms and flexible counselling appointments operating seven days a week. “We adapt to newer services to ensure help-seeking behaviour is easier and more convenient for anyone in need,” Shreeya added. Happy Minds was started with a seed capital of Rs 500,000 received from Kathmandu Metropolitan City and self-supported fund of Rs 2.3 million. It has a pool of mental health professionals catering to 65+ mental health issues. Alongside its counselling services, the online platform actively engages with the youth of Nepal, fostering conversations and awareness about mental health. It also collaborates with other organisations to promote the prioritisation of mental well-being in both the workplace and the community. Happy Minds is specifically focused on providing its counselling service to Nepali individuals in the 18-45 age group, who have access to social media and require well-being support. The group also includes Nepali migrant workers and students studying abroad that need mental health support. “Likewise, corporate houses and colleges that prioritise employee well-being and students’ mental health through Employee Assistance Program (EAP) also form our clientele,” she added. Happy Minds is working further to expand its dedicated support for mental health among migrant workers where the distress and suicide rates are higher. Happy Minds offers its services at affordable rates to ensure accessibility for individuals seeking support.

Online counselling sessions are available at a range of Rs 1,500-2,000, while physical counselling sessions are priced between Rs 1,750 and Rs 2,000. For Nepali people living abroad, the service charges begin from 30 British pounds. The social start-up has three focus segments for the business revenue model. Happy Minds' primary focus is B2B. EAP through private organisations contributes to 70% of the company's revenue. Likewise, B2C revenue model, wellbeing consultation, generates 20% of their income, while B2G contributes 10% of its revenue. Happy Minds takes pride in having a team of highly skilled and renowned professionals who contribute significantly to the organisation's mission. Among the commendable team members are Dr Suraj Shakya, Sirjana Adhikari, Tashi Gurung, Susmita Bogati, and many more. These experts bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, ensuring that Happy Minds delivers top-notch mental health services. Dr Suraj Shakya, with his profound knowledge in the field, plays a pivotal role in guiding the organization's strategies and ensuring the highest standards of care. His international expertise lies in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which guides people to restructure the way they think and behave. Likewise, Sirjana Adhikari, known for her empathetic approach, provides invaluable support to clients of younger age groups as well. Her expertise enables Happy Minds to provide the support that requires clinical intervention like self-harm, hallucination, and more. Tashi Gurung brings a wealth of experience in the field of mental health from India, specialising in adolescent and adults mental healthcare. His expertise enables Happy Minds to provide specialised support to working professionals who seek support with day-to-day problems, trauma healing and more. Similarly, Susmita Bogati, a mental health nurse and counselling psychologist, enables Happy Minds to facilitate mental health workshops in corporate and educational settings. Her deep understanding of diverse backgrounds ensures inclusive and interactive learning of mental well-being among clients from all industries and hierarchies.

“These renowned professionals, along with the entire Happy Minds team, are dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of our clients. With their expertise, compassion, and commitment, we contribute to the organisation's goal of bridging the mental health gap and creating a world-class mental health support system for Nepali communities,” said Shreeya. Since April 2021, Happy Minds has directly impacted more than 35,000 Nepali people through counselling and well-being workshops. As the first movers in the country to establish well-being partnerships, Happy Minds adapts to international policies for the privacy policy, safety regulation, quality assurances and more. According to Shreeya, there is a huge gap in the health system to provide well-being services related to mental health. "Nepal is said to have an 80% mental health gap. Happy Minds is trying to bridge the gap through online mediums. However, due to the limited number of mental health professionals in Nepal, we struggle to serve the audience with flexibility and in an emergency," she added. Looking towards the future, Shreeya envisions Happy Minds expanding its well-being initiatives on a global scale. The organisation aims to raise awareness and provide resources to support Nepali communities not only in urban areas but also in rural and international settings.

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