After witnessing lockdown in our lives, the importance of mental health in everyone’s life has increased like never before, especially when it comes to a student. Back in 2020, the 21-year-old Co-founder and CEO, Bhagyashree Shailesh Dalvi, was going through a difficult phase in her life and was looking for help. The social stigma and difficulty she faced finding support, led her to think about the problems other students like her would be facing.
Inspired by her grandfather who always believed in giving back to society, she founded CoHeal with one of her friends and made it her mission to help every student not only win the mental health battle, but also come out of it with flying colors. “There`s a lack of awareness among students about mental health. Most students learn from movies or web series and try to diagnose themselves. We only have three mental health professionals for every 1000 patients. So, there is an issue of quality and quantity. Also, there is no dedicated student platform for support, and if you get support in any way, the price is so high that not every student can afford it,” she says.
The 21-year-old has the vision to create a depression-free student community, by creating awareness and providing them with an expressive platform that will be student’s first go-to place for their problems. Sharing CoHeal’s unique three-step process that sets it apart from other mental health platforms is, the “Healing Circle, where a student can connect with other like-minded students going through the same problems and share their feelings and support each other. The best part is that it’s free of cost and completely anonymous. Second, you can consult one-on-one with a trained and experienced psychologist at an affordable price for students. Third, after the student gets out of the psychological situation, s/he doesn’t know how to take the next big step in life. We don’t leave them defeated, but help them succeed in their careers through our mentoring program.”
Officially launched in 2021, CoHeal has already implemented more than 80 healing circles, therapy sessions, and mentoring programs to help 500+ students overcome their mental health challenges. “To reach more students, we are partnering with universities and schools, to create a student-led CoHeal Club. The purpose of these clubs would be to raise awareness, work closely with students, and be more efficient in traditionally understanding students’ problems. I’ve heard many a time that even students from elite college have committed suicide for a variety of reasons. This club would empower students like them, increase access to psychological support, and will prevent them from taking extreme decisions, “she added.
When asked about what inspired her to take on a project like this at such a young age and how she manages her studies along with the work, she said, “It’s my grandfather, Mr. Suresh Ramchandra Dalvi, who has always inspired me and if I became even half of what he was, I would be very happy. He lived his life for society and never allowed anyone to go back empty-handed. When it comes to managing my work along with my studies, I would say it’s really difficult, but I have immense support from my family and friends, especially my maternal uncle, Mr. Dinesh Sonsale, who is also my mentor, and my father, Mr. Shailesh Dalvi. My mother, Mrs. Swati, and my Mami, Mrs. Sheetal Sonsale, are my pillar of support for me making sure I eat the right food and take proper rest. Whatever little I have achieved is because of their love and support.”