Who: Talk To Heal
Category: Mental Health
What: 'Talk To Heal' provides a platform for people to talk to trained listeners when they face any mental health troubles
Why: For providing a platform for people to talk to trained listeners when they face any mental health troubles
When we think about mental health, serious issues such as depression, stress, etc generally come to our mind. However, these aren't the only troubles a person faces mentally. Thoughts often crop up in the mind, which if not communicated well, often get troublesome. Entrepreneurs Sonia Arora Sood and Priyanka Wadhera’s ‘Talk To Heal’ initiative aims to do just that. Under this, anyone facing any mental health troubles can talk to listeners, called CoCo (constant companions), and vent out about whatever bothers them. Chances are they might feel better and if the CoCo identifies that the person might need a specialist’s help, advises him/her to speak with one of the psychologists roped under the ‘Talk To Heal’ initiative.
For its effort to look at mental health differently, Onlymyhealth nominates ‘Talk To Heal’ for Cofsils Presents Healthcare Heroes Awards 2021. It is nominated under the ‘Mental Health’ category. This is its story:
Inception Of Talk To Heal
‘Talk To Heal’ is an initiative under ‘Eat Luv N Pray’, a company founded by Sonia Arora Sood and Priyanka Wadhera in July 2020. The campaign was started sometime after that, Sonia told Onlymyhealth. Speaking about the idea behind ‘Eat Luv N Pray’, Priyanka said, amidst the COVID pandemic or outside it, many times, thoughts crop up in our minds and there aren’t many people to talk to. Hence, they “wanted to open a platform for the masses where they can just join through virtual means and talk to our specialists,” she said.
Also, the duo did its research and realised that many times, mental health issues and even suicide ideation crop up during lull hours. Also, they identified a gap between wanting to talk and the active social circle, as the circle might be available during normal hours, which might not be the case during lull hours. Hence, ‘Listen To Heal’ provides that platform for people to talk to someone when they feel the need. Through its research, the duo also identified that there are chunks of the population that might need this more than others, such as elderlies, college students, middle-aged women, etc.
How Does ‘Listen To Heal’ Work?
Under the ‘Talk To Heal’ initiative, you can speak to:
- Trained listeners
Here, the role of the trained listeners, dubbed as CoCo, is more important. Priyanka described them as “trained regular people with basic active therapeutic listening skills.” These listeners are trained to become empathetic listeners. Although not trained to give any advice, these are taught to identify cues that the person might need an expert’s advice. Accordingly, they advise the person if he/she would want to talk to one of the experts. The decision ultimately lies with the person to make.
And how do they ascertain if the person calling is doing it with the right intentions, Sonia and Priyanka said that the CoCos are trained not just to be empathetic listeners, but are also taught soft skills, and hence, senses in the initial minutes where the conversation is heading and responds accordingly.
For the ‘Talk To Heal’ service:
- There is a website where people can make their accounts.
- CoCos are there on the same platform.
- Both audio and video facilities are available, but the video service isn’t active at present.
- Also, there are two hotline numbers, where you can drop a WhatsApp message along with a comfortable slot and a listener would contact you accordingly. This is a free service.
Speaking about the experience during the pandemic, Sonia said, the company worked through the two previous waves. The primary problems people faced during the two were different. During the first in 2020 when we lived under months-long lockdown, the primary issue was isolation. During the second, when the country saw widespread disease and deaths, grief was the main problem.
Although a lot is mainstreamed, mental health isn’t given the same importance as physical health. And for bringing attention and working to alleviate people’s mental health troubles, we, at Onlymyhealth, give a big shoutout to ‘Talk To Heal’ along with its creators Sonia Arora Sood and Priyanka Wadhera.
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