In this businessline podcast, Anjana PV talks to Ekta Prakash Sharma, Founder, Humanising Lives, on affordable therapy. The discussion begins with a common concern: the perceived expense of therapy. It highlights the rising costs of therapy and the factors that influence these rates, including therapist qualifications, and geographical location. Ekta adds depth to the topic, emphasising that therapists invest significantly in their qualifications and ongoing supervision to provide the best service to clients. The cost is not just about the therapy itself, but the continuous professional development and investment made by therapists.

The conversation takes a turn as the host shares her interaction with an Instagram influencer, who, despite only two years of experience, charges a substantial fee for therapy sessions. This raises questions about the trend of influencers in the mental health space, where individuals with limited experience charge high fees. Ekta acknowledges the issue, suggesting that influencers should focus on awareness and advocacy rather than making clinical diagnoses.

The central theme of the podcast revolves around affordable therapy and importance of making therapy accessible to a diverse population in India. Ekta emphasises that mental health is a human right and underscores the need for affordable options. Ekta’s journey into affordable therapy was born out of intent rather than a business plan. During the lockdown, she recognised the lack of mental health support, leading to her initiative to offer pro-bono psychotherapy.

The conversation explores the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. Ekta believes that the pandemic exposed internal conflicts within individuals, leading to increased demand for therapy. The invisible pandemic of mental health challenges, such as stress, job losses, and isolation, became more evident during this time, emphasizing the importance of seeking therapy.

The podcast also discusses why people are willing to pay substantial amounts for specialist doctors but hesitate when it comes to investing in their mental health. Ekta responds by highlighting the stigma surrounding mental health and the need to normalise therapy. She argues that affordable therapy can help destigmatise mental health issues, making them more approachable.

Ekta elaborates on the operations of ‘Humanising Lives,’ emphasising the importance of intent and alignment with their vision when recruiting employees. The team invests significantly in training and supervision, ensuring the quality of service. The organisation does not have a specific business model; the funds received are primarily allocated to therapist salaries and training.

The podcast also touches on government initiatives for mental health. Ekta believes there is room for improvement in accessibility to mental health services, highlighting the need for better funding in this sector. The podcast discusses the potential benefits of including mental health treatments in medical insurance, making therapy more affordable and reducing the financial burden on individuals.

Ekta encourages open conversations about mental health. She stresses the importance of talking to friends, family, or professionals and urges individuals to break the silence surrounding mental health issues. This podcast episode provides valuable insights into the world of affordable therapy, the factors affecting therapy costs, the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, and the need to destigmatise mental health in India.

Listen in to the podcast.