Published: 17th August 2019
In Bhubaneswar, One Life is a budding helpline that offers counselling to the dejected and depressed
They have conducted seminars on emotional intelligence and other topics in universities like Utkal University, SOA, CV Raman College of Engineering and other places
Opening up about mental health might have gotten a tad bit simpler, thanks to the several celebrities and public figures who have spoken about it openly, but there is no doubt about the fact that there is still stigma attached to it. One Life was started to dispense with this stigma and encourage everyone to reach out through their helpline number. Started by Summon Patra and Zahid Akhtar just two months back, their intention was to simply talk and offer help. "We wanted to create an organised platform so that people can reach out to us seamlessly because though the talk around mental health has certainly increased, the awareness is still missing. Even friends take you for granted and families have grown distant," Summon notes, sadly. Solution? Their Suicidal Response Team comprising of doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists that they are putting together who will offer free professional counselling on the phone. And when needed, escalate this issue to a personal counselling session for a nominal charge. "We are not looking to make a profit out of this so the doctors charge lower then what they usually do," says the 36-year-old, who also informs that they are developing a chatbot which could make things a little easier. The registration process is completely free of cost.
There are four stages that they have identified when it comes to depression — stress and anxiety, deep depression, suicide ideation and an attempt at committing suicide. One Life wants to catch students at stage two and three and offer them multiple counselling sessions. "We also learnt that drug and sex addiction is rampant in Bhubaneswar so we want to help out on that front as well," he says.
Selfie time: Summon with Ankita Mohanty | (Pic: One Life)
Between them, the duo Summon Patra and Zahid Akhtar have 25 years of experience in training and development. While Summon is a certified NLP trainer, Zahid specialises in life skills and soft skills training. They have taken several workshops and seminars in schools, colleges and corporates under their company Eternal Minds, which they started about four years back. Further on, their own research and statistics like the World Happiness Report 2019 which stated that out of the 156 countries surveyed, India ranks 140, compelled them to do something in this space. "I want our initiative to go viral in a way that helps everyone out," says Zahid. The duo, we are told, have already made many advances towards the initiative going viral. Celebrities like Ollywood star Shona Mishra are on board with their idea. "Indeed, we received a very enthusiastic response from some of them," informs 39-year-old Zahid. They intend to spread their operations in Bhubaneswar, Odisha and eventually, to other states too.
Power team: Zahid and Summon | (Pic: Express)
Some worrying stats
- A study reported in WHO, conducted for the NCMH National Care Of Medical Health, says that 6.5 per cent of Indians suffer from mental disorder of one kind of the other
- There is a shortage of mental health workers
- In the year 2014, the statistics when it comes to the shortage were one in 1,00,000 people
- The average suicide rate in India is 10.9 for every lakh
- Most people who commit suicide are below 44
Reach out to them on 8368288846 if you are dealing with depression