“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs”. Bhavi quotes Tony Gaskin and smirks as she takes us to her world and discusses her motivations behind Mentagram.
Dr. Bhavi is the only child to her parents, who lives in Mumbai. She recollects her childhood – her father as a disciplinarian who wanted everything organized and brought discipline in her life. Her father and her husband remain her source of inspiration even today. She reminisces her mother as an idealist who taught her to be resilient and face every situation and not give up. She recalls her childhood as a happy one with many friends and family. In her adolescence, Bhavi moved on to a convent school for education. She went on to pursue homeopathy in college where she met the ‘love of her life’. One can only wonder if it was her blessed and happy life that motivated her to fight for those who did not have the same standing as hers or her idealistic motivations.
In today’s time, mental problems in India have become more prevalent than ever. About 75 million people suffer from mental health issues. Bhavi informs us that there are 148 per 100,000 adolescent suicides in India. About 4 in 10 of corporate employees, have MH problems. 12.5% of the population suffers from depression. And the number of mental health professionals remain as low as 4000 psychiatrists and 10,000 psychologists with the Doctor-Patient ratio being 1:343,000.
Like every other doctor – Dr. Bhavi and her husband settled down in clinical practice. But she aspired to make more difference to the universe. Despite being a mother of twins being just a year old, she decided to embark on the journey of an entrepreneur with Shreeji Exports and E-com. This did not last long due to the recession in the U.S., but having gained experience and confidence she started an IT company locally; called Shreeji Software Solutions from 2003 to 2005, after which she decided to opt for higher education. She completed her Graduation with Gold Medal in 2003 and post-graduation in 2006.
And there was no looking back for Bhavi. She along with her husband set out on a mission of ‘Sculpting Minds Shaping Future’ which gave birth to Vrudhi Research Foundation. They worked with over 55,000 children annually across the city of Mumbai, with Academic, Behaviour, Career and Developmental expertise. The centre provided various services and Bhavi took up the responsibility of providing homeopathy services. Having worked for over a decade for mental health through various initiatives at Vrudhi, she and her husband observed a growing need to ensure mental health delivery system.
‘Edupsyche’ was thus born with the prime objective of ‘Remoulding, Redefining & Refining Mental Health.’ This was built with the motive to reach out to the population at large and ensure better mental health service delivery across the country. With the need to have outreach and seeing that Information Technology (IT) being the only way to take things nationally, Bhavi decided to combine IT with Edupsyche to reach out to people at a faster pace. She proudly remarks that “We at Edupsyche, believe you need to love your work. It is the only thing to give you happiness in times of difficulties. This helps you remain optimistic and resilient. We are passionate about the work and have conviction in our work.” Edupsyche took up the challenges of De-Stigmatising and De-Catastrophising mental health; imparting training to mental health professionals and making mental health services more available. This led to the development of Mentagram – a portal that helps seek information regarding mental health, have virtual consultations, seek psychological assessments and get medicines online or through phone calls. It targets an audience of individuals between age of 18 -45. Mentagram provides a solution from experts who have been in the industry for decades. What is better is that it uses tele-counselling and telepsychiatry as a means of providing these services. She points out that ‘this makes mental health Accessible – Available and Affordable to all’. It works well for people who find it difficult to avail mental health services due to the ostracization of mental health problems.
For service providers, Mentagram works to decrease their dropout rates and help them reach out to clients seeking therapy and gives them a virtual platform to have flexible work hours.
‘Creating awareness is the first big step to overcome the challenges in a country where the budget for mental health is just 0.6% of the total health budget’, Bhavi remarks. She has also been conducting workshops on mental health and well- being across different platforms, school’s and colleges. She observes professionals as great resources to get new clients on board. Besides this partnership with home care service providers; tie-ups with global players like Pearson,Psychometric and NetMeds, and networking helps to maintain a steady clientele. Mentagram also provides expert advice for Times NIE to address children and teenage mental health issues. She proudly states, “We also had the opportunity to present Mentagram at NIMHANS which is one of the most reputed institute for mental health care in the country. We are in talks to do a pilot for them”.
What is even a bigger achievement is the fact that Dr. Bhavi manages to accomplish all this day in and day out with a family of a husband and two twins, caring for them all at the same time. Her day starts every morning at 6.30 a.m., packing tiffin for her twin girls and sending them off to college. Mostly, 10:00 am to 4:00pm remains her usual work hours. Usual day at work starts with taking stock of previous day’s achievement and planning the day ahead with the team. After this she attends her clinic from 6:00pm to 8:00pm; post that she makes it home to her family. Rest of the day is strictly family time where they share the last meal of the day together and catch up on the events of the day. As a firm believer in God, she believes that the divine keeps her through tough times and has bliss in store for us all.
Her advice to the world, “Passion, patience, persistence, and perseverance are the four ingredients for success.” We must believe in our abilities and strength as each person has unique qualities that can make a difference. Dr. Bhavi’s father exclaims that she is not just a daughter but more than a son to him.
While we at Storified.Me are in awe for this woman is taking Mental Health into a whole new dimension, we wish her greater success in all her endeavors!