Lakshmi Sreenivasan

The Café Counsel

Lakshmi main objective was to provide a platform to listen to all those unheard voices suffering from mental health issues. Lakshmi's mission is to make 'mental health' accessible in the most convenient and confidential way at 'Cafe Counsel.'

Sometimes we stumble upon the purpose of our lives in the most dreadful and painful situations. I stumbled upon my life's purpose when my sister passed away. She lost her life to at an early age. She was just 39; she battled cancer for 8 years and then succumbed to short bowel syndrome caused due to cancer last year.

My sister went through a long period of molestation and abuse during childhood. More than her excruciating physical problem through her physical illness, what affected her more was a lack of emotional support. All these painful memories and trauma that she kept bottled, never healed. She lived in the constant fear of social unacceptance and stigma. She never found anyone who could give her an empathetic ear and caring sensitivity. The more I looked around I could see more and more people suffer in silence, depression, relationship issues, suicide, anxiety, trauma, stress all are becoming regular affair with most. Café counsel was born out of this agonizing situation.

The Indian government estimates that 6-7% of the population suffers from major to minor mental health issue that is approximately 70 million Indians. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that by the year 2020, 20% of India’s population will suffer from mental health issues. India accounts for more suicides than any other country in the world. In fact, India accounts for one-third of all total global suicides. Depression, the commonest form of mental illness, is prevalent in 30.7 out of 1,000 people in urban areas like Mumbai; there is an urgent and immediate need to resolve this social problem.

Our objective is to provide a platform to listen to all those unheard voices, emotional pain, traumatic stories, grief, anger, depression, fear, and many such negative emotional states. With the fear of social stigma and lack of acceptance, when these emotions do not find a release the individuals carry this heavy burden and with no one to share, leaving the person feeling hopeless.

We have successfully helped over 250 plus people to talk and take professional assistance from our qualified psychologist, psychotherapists and counsellors. We are heavily bootstrapped start-up and until now have created a platform using our own resources. Most of our team members are working on a volunteering basis because we all believe that it is time we bring mental health and wellness to the mainstream. And create a society that allows all those who are silently suffering and fighting with psychological issues to come out of their closet and take professional assistance to live a fulfilling life.

Our mission at Café Counsel is to make mental health accessible in the most convenient and confidential way. Currently, our platform can support a limited number of users with basic features. We want to make this available to everyone who needs it, however, limited bandwidth and resources are hindering us to reach out and extend assistance. We need qualified technical experts who could help us in building a more robust platform. With your support and aid, we intend to create an ecosystem that can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, prevent suicide, loneliness, and create a fulfilling, better society, and the world.

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