A pill that has remained hard for several Indian societies to swallow is mental health and topics surrounding it. Although there’s been a vast improvement over time, a lot is yet to be done to tackle what is generally considered a taboo, largely due to lack of awareness.
Mental health-related issues were on the rise when the Covid-19 pandemic hit — global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25% in the first year of the dreaded pandemic, according to a WHO report. Daily life became a struggle for people, especially in smaller towns and cities, where mental health issues aren’t widely discussed or embraced.
Brother sister duo Abhineet Kumar and Dr Ritika Sinha started Rocket Health in 2021 as a platform to help people facing crisis during the pandemic. Being physically present in hospitals, the duo witnessed the dire situation people were in at the time. They understood the impact of being in such a situation and being based out of a small town. Sinha, co-founder and COO of the company told Entrackr, “We launched the app initially to help people out during COVID because of the whole panic situation.”
What initially started as a volunteer run platform began scaling quickly. The platform escalated after it managed to help around 4000 people during the situation in 2-3 weeks. It soon onboarded doctors from across the country and gained users via social media.
The digital mental healthcare platform offers therapy sessions, psychiatry sessions, and psychologist-led support groups and peer groups. Additionally, it offers couples therapy, sexual healthcare therapy, therapy for ADHD, and mental health assessment.
Counseling sessions are offered for daily stressors and clinical sessions are offered for users with symptoms like depression and anxiety. The platform provides clinical assessments for diagnosing patients with ADHD, bipolar disorder, OCD etc.
Prescriptions and medications support is provided for those in psychiatry sessions. Cloud pharmacy and delivery is offered to patients who chose to get medications through the platform itself. It also provides peer support groups through Discord.
Having over 3500 members in the group, it acts as an online platform with free access for all to share their day-to-day issues. It has a moderator who intervenes and steers the conversation in case the situation gets harsh. “During my practice I’ve seen that people open up about mental health online. It just helps us remove that barrier and stigma and make it easy for people to access mental health.”, said Sinha.
A 2021 report showed that 33% of Indian men were diagnosed with depression and 30% of women in India experienced anxiety. Around 39% men and 39% women experienced daily stress. The same year over 1,64,000 deaths due to suicide were recorded in India. A large number of suicides were reported in Maharashtra and were followed by Tamil Nadu. A majority of these were due to professional problems, abuse, violence, family problems, financial loss etc.
Rocket Health has boarded around 65 psychologists and healthcare professionals onto the platform and has a total of 11,000 paid users. With a growth rate of 25%, the Bangalore-based startup saw 2,800 sessions booked last month. Users between the ages of 21-35 are those most commonly seen on the platform.
Around 50% of the app users are seen from tier 1 cities and the rest 50 are seen from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Not limiting its services to India, it sees around 98% of its users to be Indians and 2% to be Indians living abroad and a few non-Indians.
With an aim to make mental health affordable for all, the platform is focusing on building scale and mental health care for millennials and Gen Z- the people who are online first.