Online consultants on demand such as #MeToo catch on


BENGALUR: Electronic counseling platforms see an increase in the number of young people seeking sexual harassment in their workplaces since the #MeToo movement gained momentum.

YourDost, a platform like this, has seen a threefold increase in people who are approaching it for advice, co-founder Richa Singh said. "Although sexual harassment issues are common where women want to share their stories and empower themselves, the number of these cases has increased significantly after the #MeToo movement," he said without specifying the exact number of requests received.

The ET spoke to a young woman who said she had left her work on an MNC and left Bengaluru where she worked, having received no positive response from the human resources department for her sexual harassment complaint against her manager. The manager, she said, used to send her scarce messages and find excuses to make her late in the office.

"These issues are happening everywhere, but in MNC no one speaks openly about it." After taking on the online counseling, I now feel motivated and energy to work again, something that has not been the scenario for the past two years, "said woman. "I did not want to call names, but I just wanted my regularity back."

He has been online with ePsyclinic for the last eight months after the traumatic experience and says #MeToo has helped her to empower herself.

Shipra Dawar, founder of ePsyclinic, said that 10% of last month's incidents were sexual harassment, but women are generally reluctant to report those who are afraid of endangering their careers. "Online counseling helps them share their experiences and revitalize them," he said. By sharing their experiences on online platforms, women are just trying to unleash their anger and frustration because they do not want to report official names, said the people who work in the field. These issues come from various industries, such as banking and financial services, information technology, marketing and others.

Unlike Bollywood stars or media professionals who have come out on social media calling names, stories in large and medium-sized businesses continue to share in shadowy shades. To address this, companies are looking to hire an electronic consultant instead of having an internal department.

Better, an online counseling platform, for example, carries out three pilots with companies in the manufacturing, marketing and other sectors.

Companies choose electronic consultants mainly because of the anonymity factor. It is also cheaper than domestic professionals. While the number of cases of sexual harassment reported on these platforms is increasing, most of the workplace issues they face are related to anxiety, depression and anxiety.

The National Mental Health Survey released in 2016 reports that nearly 150 million Indians suffer from some form of mental health and that only about 30 million seek help. In addition, the survey highlights other condemning data: Depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders affect one in 20 Indians, but the country has only about 900 clinical psychologists and 1,500 psychiatrists.

Among other increasing concerns from the workplace, the millennia were unable to adapt to their workplaces, the consultants say. The millenniums do not understand that in order to build a career, they need years of hard work, honesty and efficiency, and no success comes in one day, said ePsyclinic's Dawar.

Referring to such a case, Dawar said a 25-year MBA graduate had suicidal thoughts because he could not raise funds for his start and thought there was nothing to look forward to life. Putting things in perspective, he said success was so glorified today that people are afraid to fail. The struggle of rats for success and competition is hard to live for the millennium, which leads to more of these cases these days.