London man loses cousin to suicide, shuts down his business to dedicate his life to helping people with mental health struggles
After hearing his cousin had committed suicide, London local Ash Vipani left his job and closed down his business to commit himself to making sure no one struggling with their mental health would ever feel like they had no one to talk to. Just a week after his funeral, Ash started building mental health support platform SupportRoom.
Ash explains that his cousin had been suffering with mental health problems for a long time, but he was unsure of how he could offer support.
“I think he was always suffering, but he didn’t recognise it. I kind of pulled back from the situation. I wasn’t a mental health expert, I didn’t know what to do when someone was in that kind of pain”.
Unfortunately, Ash didn’t realise the full extent of his cousin’s struggles until it was too late, and he learned just how alone he had felt.
“When he died we went into his room and he had sticky notes plastered all over his walls with the number for the Samaritans and other mental health hotlines. But he just didn’t have that somebody to support him in private”.
Just a week after his cousin’s funeral, Ash left his job, closed his own business, and began speaking with clinical psychologists and mental health professionals to find out more about the mental health services available to people. He found out that a lot of services out there, whether through lack of funding or awareness, just weren’t doing enough to offer effective and personalised support.
“A lot of people don’t see that there are mental health services in place, or don’t know how to find them. They’re not communicated clearly enough or frequently enough. If people do know about mental health services available to them, most of the time it can take up to 3 weeks to get an appointment unless they go private. It’s shocking, and makes people feel even more alone and unheard”.
Ash utilised his background in tech to develop SupportRoom – an online platform to provide fast and effective mental health support to those who are struggling. Using SupportRoom, users are assigned dedicated qualified therapists who they can communicate with via messages, voice notes or video chat at a time and frequency that suits them.
“There are holistic insights and clinical data built into the platform. Where we offer support for businesses is through the Leadership Dashboard where anonymised data analytics helps company leaders understand what’s impacting their workforce. They can identify leading issues in the workplace and go really granular to find the root cause of an issue. They can then improve the wellbeing of their workplace based on this data”.