A Hangout with a difference

Richa Mishra | Updated on April 13, 2018

The will, and the way Ashwani Kumar Anand and Sarita Anand from Reboot Wellness, during an interaction with Business Line   -  THE HINDU

This initiative is a Reboot chance for those facing addiction/mental health issues

Battling inner demons is not easy, especially when social stigma stares you in the face. And who would know it better than those going through mental health problems arising from substance abuse and addiction, including social media cravings?

“The thing most people seeking help are looking for is a place that helps you without being judgemental,” says Anish*, currently seeking help. “Initially I went to a psychologist and followed the copy-book approach of getting treated,” but the results left a lot to be desired.

Then ‘Hangout’ happened, Anish says.

Tucked in a very unlikely corner of Gurugram, ‘Hangout’ cafe run by Reboot Wellness is a place where you can seek help without being judged. And it’s run by a troika — Ashwani and Sarita Anand, and Saloni Malhotra. While Ashwani brings experience, Sarita brings on board therapeutic skills. But it is the youngest of the three, Saloni, who founded DesiCrew (India’s first rural Knowledge Process Outsourcing company employing over 350 people) who then joined Paytm and later quit to set up Reboot, who is the entrepreneur here.

How is this different from a typical rehab centre or de-addiction camp that helps individuals suffering from depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, marital discord or career related problems? Sarita says, “(the) Team at Reboot acts as an interventionist by bringing together experts from the field of medicine, psychology and motivational groups.”

The counselling centre addresses mental health problems, substance abuse and addiction by creating an ecosystem for treating these issues in a scientific, yet non-judgmental way, she explains. It’s like a chicken and egg story, what came first, depression that led to alcoholism or drug abuse or vice versa, but both are curable, says Ashwani.

Reboot turns one this July and is already creating ripples, largely by word of mouth.

Praveen*, also taking help at the centre, says, “what gives me comfort is that my counsellor himself has been an addict and undergone therapy. The fact that he has been able to be sober for the last 25 years gives me the confidence to overcome my own demons.”

The Anand couple relocated from Singapore in February last year and, along with close friend Saloni, decided to set up this venture, with their own money. The company has to work out its revenue model, besides having membership, counsellor fees, package and workshops, which has started showing results. “As the business expands, we will look at other forms of investors,” Saloni says.

The Hangout cafe is a highlight from Reboot. It also enables a sense of community building for like-minded people to just sit together and chat over a cup of tea, coffee and snacks from the kitchen, as the positive energy flows though the sound of music.

But the task ahead is not easy and the three of them know it, especially with the social stigma attached to mental health-related issues. The age group of those seeking help ranges from 15-year-olds to those dealing with post-retirement depression. “We have to learn not to take life as it goes by, but prepare ourselves,” says Sarita.

* Names changed to protect privacy

Published on April 13, 2018

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