KOCHI: U OK?, a mental health service offered by ShopDoc mobile application founded by three Malayalis under the start-up mission, has provided free services to over 6,000 students since July 1. With the pandemic crippling social, emotional and financial stability, those suffering from anxiety issues have benefitted the most from the app. It started during the second wave as a community-focused initiative that spreads awareness on mental health conditions, says Shihab Makaniyil, founder and CEO.
“We were all struggling to cope with the tremendous challenges and devastation brought about by Covid. As someone who has previously gone through a circle of depression, I was affected too. ‘Are you okay?’ was a question I was longing to hear from people close to me. That is how this project began. Now we are helping out hundreds of people weekly,” said Shihab.
Thousands of students across schools and colleges in Kerala also found comfort in the app that offers affordable one-on-one consultations to the public, including women and youngsters. “Our designated mental health practitioners are all women, led by two mental health and happiness managers of ShopDoc — Shibili Suhana and Ravneet Kahlon. They are experienced in dealing with problems of millennials and Generation-Z in particular, which comprises the majority of help seekers,” said Razik Ashraf, co-founder and COO.
The app will soon be launched in the UAE, at Gitex Future Stars 2021, the biggest startup event in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia region at Dubai World Trade Centre between October 17 and 20. “An increasing number of suicide cases is being reported among the Indian expatriates lately. This is why we want to launch it in the middle east,” said Zahid, who lives in Dubai.
ShopDoc is currently incubated at the Kerala Startup Mission, primarily serving Kerala and southern Karnataka, helping patients access the best, most affordable secondary and tertiary care. ‘U OK?’ Mental Health Clinic is currently a virtual mental health service available on ShopDoc.