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Rachana Awatramani - Founder of Insight #Counselling Services in Mumbai, India

Q1. How did your career journey start? Or Who/What inspired you to start this business/ entrepreneurship? I wanted to start my own p...

Q1. How did your career journey start? Or Who/What inspired you to start this business/ entrepreneurship?

I wanted to start my own practice as soon as I completed my masters. However, I was not very confident because in the counselling profession we deal with human emotions and feelings. More than not having confidence, I think I was scared. After completing my masters when I started working in a school, I came across many counselling centres in and around Mumbai who were not qualified and trained enough to provide counselling services. There were people who completed a 6 months course in counselling and were playing with people's life. My colleagues and I decided overnight to start a centre and called it 'Insight Counselling Services'.

Initially we conducted awareness workshops on various topics related to mental health and then moved on to career guidance and also provided personality analysis for some of the reality shows. Within almost 2 years we were felicitated twice by various boards of Mental Health.

While we undertook small projects under insight, I also worked with NGOs, schools for 3 years and with Tata Institute of Social Sciences for almost 2 years. This gave me the required confidence and further training to deal with individual concerns. 

Q2. Kindly share some information about your Business, products and services here.

Insight Counselling Services LLP, has been providing mental health counselling for more than half a decade and has been felicitated on various occasions. 

We provide psychological based counselling for issues like stress, depression, violence, grief, trauma, relationship concerns, to name a few. 

We provide counselling and career guidance support to children with help of personality, ability and interest tests. 

For corporate sector we are providing psychometric tests for recruitment and managerial level tests along with counselling and various workshops on mental health topics. 

We also undertake projects like reality shows, movie consultation, and workshop for children working on various movies, TV serials etc. 

We are coming up with 24x7 phone counselling services by January 2017.

Q3. What kind of challenges did you face while starting/doing business? 

At the beginning we faced lots of resistance from people to take our services but now the awareness has increased therefore we have clients visiting us on regular basis. 

Yes, people hesitate to visit a psychologist due to the stigma and discrimination that people have towards mental health issues, but believe me, it is very important to visit a psychologist on regular basis for your mental health just as you visit your family doctor for your physical health.

Q4. Do share with our readers about your discovery period when you were facing difficulties in your business?

It was surprising to see how people were not aware of who a psychologist is and what is a difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. This is also because there is no awareness created about the importance of mental health and psychology in general at schools. Thus children grow up listening and believing what people have to say about these topics which may not be the right information.

Hence, I and my team realised that spreading mental health awareness is very important and therefore we also came up with an NGO called Celebrating Life Welfare Trust under which we are running a project called Psych baba. Psych baba is an animated character whose comic strips spread mental health awareness and also share the myths and facts about psychology and mental health professionals amongst people through social media. We have also undertaken various activities like organising mental health Walk, visiting NGOs, etc. to spread mental health awareness.

Q5. Share with our readers about your experiment period after the discovery period? 

After the awareness we have received a very good response from schools, corporates and individuals for counselling workshops and testing services. 

Right now we are going to experiment with providing 24x7 telephone counselling which will commence from January 2017.

Q6. What are your future plans? Or now what is your vision for next five years?

Running 24x7 phone counselling service for India is on the priority list right now. Secondly, we are also working on initiating mental Health first aid in India.

Q7. How would you advice/suggest new entrepreneurs who want to start & sustain in business?

Do what you feel right, trust your instincts and believe in yourself, believe in your uniqueness. As there is no one in this entire world who thinks, writes, imagines exactly like you.

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