a month ago

Transforming mental health support system in Bangladesh

Representational image
Representational image

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In a society where mental health issues run rampant nowadays, seeking therapy is considered a luxury, costly, and even stigmatized. Bangladesh's mental healthcare industry is booming in urban areas, but there is a significant gap between getting the right treatment and affordability for patients. 

Meet 'Relaxy', a tech-based mental health support startup co-founded by Jahnnobi Rahman, a visionary entrepreneur who transformed her struggles into a revolutionary mental health solution and made her way onto the esteemed Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Jahnnobi had her own battle with mental health issues, too, even having suicidal thoughts. Recognizing that many others struggle with similar difficulties, she was driven by a passion to make a difference. 

The journey of Relaxy traces back to Jahnnobi's university days, where she worked on the game 'Captain Earth' as part of a larger project. The game initially focused on enhancing soft skills for those under 18. However, the dire need for mental health support became glaringly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when two students from KUET committed suicide.

After the incident, many acquaintances were looking for mental health specialists. Jahnnobi, alongside Naimul Haque and Samiul Islam, launched a Facebook page called 'Captain Earth', connecting people with expert psychologists. The success of this endeavour prompted them to create the dedicated app 'Relaxy' in July 2022, eventually evolving into a full-fledged startup.

Jahnnobi expressed that individuals from all walks of life can face mental health problems, and mental health problems must be treated with the same care as any other medical condition. Considering the unique challenges posed by Bangladesh's social strata, Jahnnobi urges everyone to openly discuss mental health issues. The hustle and bustle of Dhaka often hinders individuals from seeking in-person psychiatric consultations.

In response, Relaxy offers a solution where certified psychologists provide services at home within 12 hours of contact.

One distinctive feature of the Relaxy app is the option for users to maintain complete anonymity while engaging with psychologists, ensuring the utmost security of personal information. Beyond conventional counselling, the app offers audio-visual meditation and community chat features.

In terms of financial support, Captain Earth received recognition and grants, a portion of which was invested in building the Relaxy platform. The startup has secured investments from entities like the Sajeda Foundation and other investors, approximately 70 lakh taka.

Although profitability remains a goal for the future, Relaxy has registered significant growth, with a 14 per cent increase in revenue over the past year. With over 50,000 registered users, 40 per cent living outside Dhaka, the startup continues to serve thousands monthly.

In the future, Jahnnobi plans to provide mental health services across all levels. The startup receives B2B service offers from private companies and aims to expand overseas by 2025. Jahnnobi's mission extends beyond the app, emphasizing the holistic importance of mental well-being as Relaxy moves forward; its founder, Jahnnobi, dreams of positively changing countless lives.

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