Peace of mind
Abhinav Krishna, co-founder and CEO, OurHealthMate, a platform that is promoting the concept of mental well-being among corporate employees, talks about the importance of addressing the issue at the workplace.
There is little corporate India does to acknowledge mental health issues which may arise out of financial or physical health or some other factor. Corporates rarely take proactive steps to address concerns that an employee faces due to repeated stressful situations. OurHealthMate (OHM), a digital platform, provides data and solutions to help employees cope with such situations. The health tech startup, headquartered in San Francisco and with offices in Singapore and Bengaluru, is powered by a secure digital platform that integrates health and wellness management solutions for corporate employees and connects patients, providers and payers in India.
Abhinav Krishna, co-founder and CEO, OHM, introduces us to the concept and the platform.
Why do you think there is a need for a platform like OurHealthMate?
While we were in the process of doing healthcare management activities in corporates, we noticed that mental well-being needed attention too. At the workplace, employees are able to open up or share anxieties with peers and with their seniors, however, they lack a structured recourse to professional help. In India, mental problems are a hush-hush affair and counselling at any stage in life is rife with speculation. Given this backdrop, we decided to focus on mental well-being since it is important for an organisation to support its employees. Corporates can benefit from technology driven well-being management platforms and express their support to the cause. Since OHM’s digital platform works as an aggregator, the corporate gets anonymised data about the number of people who have taken counselling, and those who are dealing with stressful situations.
How does OHM help address and solve mental health issues at the workplace?
Care planning is an essential and the most integral part of our solution design. Before we begin working with any of our clients, we work with the employees in doing an ice-breaking session and simultaneously start on a connect programme with the stakeholders at the organisation level to understand the larger goal behind engaging professional services like ours. At any stage, it’s only professionals like doctors, counsellors who are allowed and expected to connect with the team and not anyone from the management. The ice-breaking session or the outreach programme starts with a customised communication which invites the employees to focus only on one thing — look away from computers and engage in the activity which will help them forget about their surroundings for a few minutes.
How does OHM work?
Technology is an important lever but customised communication acts as the trigger. What follows next is a gradual process of programme selection, receiving updates, forming teams and much more — all of this delivered through the comforts of the digital dashboard. Each employee has her/ his login ID and can register using a secure password. Once they have attended the workshop of their choice, they can opt for personal counselling, again using the OHM dashboard. The counselling or psychiatrist visits (and in some cases tele-counselling) are totally confidential without the employee having to share even his/ her name. It can be done face-to-face, over e-mail or a call. While all the engagement and enrollment is being done by the employee, each data point is maintained under high encryption and what the organisation gets to access is macro data at an anonymised level, details of which varies from corporate to corporate.
What causes mental illness among employees?
Reasons for mental illnesses range from workplace stress, financial woes, bereavement, family discord and physical disorders too — probably an accident, serious illness, among others. Workplace stress often has its roots either in the way the overall environment at work is or how communication flows within the organisation. Issues like disappointing raise, no clear line of work reporting, bullying from seniors, inability to voice opinion and a few more, form the larger base of having a team which will get weighed down with mental well-being, sooner or later.
In India, mental illness is looked upon as a taboo with people refraining from talking about it openly. In such a scenario, how can your platform help?
With more and more known faces openly talking about depression and other issues pertaining to mental well-being, we, Indians, are becoming more open to discussing this topic. It is acceptable to pick up the phone and say ‘Yes, I have gone through/ going through depression and I need help’.
Where is OHM present?
Corporate India has its roots deep in 10 plus cities including Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. In order to be able to service the corporates and its affiliates, OHM is currently focusing on spreading its services to these cities.