In January 2021, SupportRoom was finally launched, bridging the gap between people struggling with mental health issues and the therapy support they need. Since then, the online therapy platform has done just that: support.
Ash Vipani and Deepak Bhavsar, founders of the promising online therapy platform, recently sat down for an interview to share more about their brainchild, SupportRoom. They spoke about what the platform is, as well as some of the personal experiences that led to its founding.
For Ash, SupportRoom was created after the loss of a close family member to suicide, which inspired him to design a platform that supported people within the moment. The UK’s traditional therapy services currently have many hurdles – such as long waiting lists – that the average person encounters. Ash realised that to tackle some of these issues, there needed to be a platform that could provide easier, quicker, and more affordable access to a therapist.
Through SupportRoom, those that are suffering can talk to their therapist at all hours via the usage of any device. SupportRoom’s mission is to provide clinical support throughout the entire therapy journey. Both Ash and Deepak believe that neither pill nor a single therapy session will truly resolve patients symptoms. Therefore, their focus has been to provide immediate therapy at no cost as well as ongoing therapy at affordable rates.
The typical model of booking appointments and paying by the hour has always been a barrier for most when trying to get support. So it was paramount that the platform they created could connect patients with a therapist on the spot without any advanced booking. They also thought it essential for clients to stay connected throughout their entire therapy journey – which is why the platform offers unlimited messaging therapy.
Why did they choose messaging therapy? For one thing, they found from research that those suffering from anxiety and depression didn’t have the confidence to meet a therapist face-to-face – even before COVID. Ash thus saw an opportunity in messaging therapy, enabling those suffering from confidence issues a chance to speak to a therapist within a secure environment. SupportRoom does offer other forms of communication with the platform. Whenever patients start to build their confidence and form a better relationship with their therapist, they can then opt to speak via video calls.
Both Ash and Deepak think this is part of what sets it apart from other online therapy organisations – that, and transforming the wellbeing of employees across the workforce.
Significantly, SupportRoom will be moving into the B2B space over the next few weeks. Ash hopes that with this undertaking, employees can start to feel better supported by their organisation.
The stats speak for themselves: “Deloitte estimates that mental health issues cost UK employers £42-45 billion in lost productivity, absence and related costs. For the private sector, it’s almost £1,652 per employee, per year. Employees are desperate. 10% of employees who disclosed a mental health issue at work were disciplined, demoted or fired.” Furthermore, only eleven percent of managers have received training in understanding workplace stressors.
SupportRoom intends to change these figures soon by helping directors drive the right transformation across their workplace. Now more than ever, many people can receive ongoing support anytime, anywhere.
SupportRoom can only serve to make a difference, thanks to the two founders’ previous experience with start-ups. In the UK, Ash has structured and stabilised many businesses in the market while learning how to treat employees. This valuable insight was what led him to provide mental health support for both employees and businesses as well.
Meanwhile, Deepak has overseen the global growth and management of several businesses. They hope that coupled with their own experiences in and passion for mental health, therapy will be transformed for the better. Indeed, both founders hope to make that same transformation soon in the UAE. For Deepak, in particular, therapy services could be made more affordable there, especially after his own experiences of receiving counselling.
Ultimately, SupportRoom for these two founders is not about growing a tech company into a multi-million dollar business. Quite the opposite. They believe people should not suffer in silence and that reaching out can be the first step to getting better.
By 2022, they hope to treat as many patients and employees with their mental health issues. Ash expressed that if they can at least support one percent of the population in the country that suffers from mental health issues, then that’s a huge achievement for them.