KOCHI: Last year, on World Mental Health Day, founders of ‘Humans of Kerala’ set up ‘The Yellow Club’ to normalise conversations surrounding mental health. A few months ago, they launched a website for feasibility and easier communication between the public and therapists. A year since their launch, ‘The Yellow Club’ will be launching ‘YC’, Kerala’s first mental health services application for consultation and emergency services. The app will be released by actress Anna Ben on Instagram (@yellowclubofficial) at 5pm on Saturday which marks the World Mental Health Day.
“We registered as a startup in Bengaluru recently, where most of our team members are located. An app is easier and more accessible than a website. Our vision has always been to make mental health services accessible -- bringing technological intervention on a long-term perspective. It is scalable and can reach out to more people. Also, while we have helplines and other websites for mental health services, an app primarily for mental health services developed by Malayalis is a first in Kerala,” says Rahul Roy, founder and managing director.
‘YC’ is the combined effort of ‘The Yellow Club’, mental health practitioners, technical team and advisors. “The app has features which recommend the right therapist for the problem a person faces. We’ve collaborated with nearly 75 such practitioners in Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. This is paramount because most people end up consulting the wrong therapist who can be a bad fit. The first experience matters most. YC also comprises a toolkit which contains essentials and aiding material to help deal with anxiety or blues. There are also facilities for one-to-one therapy via video calls on the app. We hope to update the app every three months. The aim is to build a community, a safe space for people to discuss their thoughts and ideas,” explains Rahul.
Whilst India may have an array of helpline numbers, it is an acknowledged fact that most of them aren’t serviceable. “We have integrated helpline numbers in different states and districts in Kerala, we made certain to include only ones that are attended,” says Rahul.
Leaning towards a sustainable model
“Most of us have now quit our jobs to dedicate our time solely for ‘The Yellow Club’. Registering as a startup was the first step with Subin Saji as the co-founder and director, Lino Thomas as the head of the technical team, Milan Reio as the programme director of campaigns and Nithin Abraham Prasad, Sanjna Elizabeth and Danny Mathew as the founding members,” says Rahul.A few months ago, ‘The Yellow Club’ had instituted a programme with schools wherein the importance of mental health and wellbeing was inculcated into education.
Now, they have reached out to colleges including Sacred Heart College, Thevara and CMS College, Kottayam, to build clubs and societies where student volunteers will be trained under expert guidance on dealing with mental wellbeing among students. “These mental health warriors will create awareness and reach out to youth communities. While we started with the school outreach programme, we’re building concrete sustainable plans for colleges too. In the long run, we hope to pan out our services across India,” added Rahul.