Post News Network
Bhubaneswar, August 9: 26-year-old Sulochana Mishra (named changed), who stays in the city, found herself at the crossroads when she realized that the person whom she loved for five years, has plans to ditch her and was in fact contemplating marrying another girl close to one of his relatives. Stunned by the sudden jolt, she went into depression.
She decided to consult a psychiatrist, but was reluctant to meet an unknown person – what if s/he be a doctor – and share her very ‘personal’ problems. She chose online help and that helped her cope up with the stress. “It was one of the worst times in my life. It really needs time to convince yourself that you need to consult a psychologist. However, I was hesitant to meet a stranger physically and share my personal stories. I decided to search for options online. I zeroed in on one of the reputed online counselling platforms, which helped me a lot in removing my memories of the bad times,” she said.
Like Sulochana there are many living in the state who have started reaping the benefits of online solutions for a tryst with psychiatrists and psychologist from across the country and even abroad. For many, logging on to the counselling sites to get utility information and assistance through their laptops, tablets and mobile phones are far more convenient. Moreover, these technological interventions have also helped in removing the hurdles of arranging for transportation to meet the reputed senior doctors practicing in the big cities.
With the growing penetration of the Internet in the state and the country, several online counselling platforms have come up with their bagful of solutions and they are evolving daily, basing their offerings and services on smarter and modern technologies and techniques to cater to the needs of the people in a more effective way.
Ankita Puri, a former investment banker who lives in Bangalore and has launched ‘healtheminds’ six months ago, said that it (the counselling site) had come as a boon for people living in smaller cities. Talking to Orissa POST, she said, “For people living in smaller cities it has come as a boon, as people from any part of the country can now get expert advice and consultations following a few clicks. Moreover, for many, who do not like to physically interact with psychiatrists and physiologists can easily interact with them using the online means of communication and that too at their own convenient timings.” According to Puri, her portal now has around 45 specialists on board who are on their toes to help the people who need it. Puri also said that she received calls from Orissa too.
Many say that with the advent of numerous technological interventions, the diagnosis of problems related to both the mental and the physical health of a patient and connecting with him/her has also improved. Dr Shefali Batra, a psychiatrist who runs a mental health solutions portal named ‘Mindframes’, said that technology had now brought more trust to the patient-doctor relationship and patients confided in their doctors through online counselling freely.
“Technology has really helped the patients in need of counselling. We have developed some software, which first takes record of the profile of the patients through their filling up of some online questionnaires. This process helps us in getting the background info on and the mental health status of the patients. Online counselling has been getting more importance, as it is comparatively hassle-free and convenient for the patients,” said the Mumbai-based Batra.
Experts say most of the people, who come to these platforms, want solutions to their problems related to marital discords, relationship lows, low self-esteem, etc. Prachi S Vaish, a clinical psychologist, said, “These platforms have now helped people to discuss things which they earlier did not want to discuss personally. Most of the cases that I see relate to marital discords, relationship problems, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression.”
Prachi started ‘Hopenetwork’ to reach out to the people. She uses different platforms to connect with them according to their comfort levels. She said, “We use all available platforms to reach out to the people, who want to connect with us. We use video conferencing, WhatsApp, emails, phone calls or text messages to cater to the needs of the people, according to the mode of communication they prefer.”