With one-quarter of the world population crammed in the region, major depressive disorder, which is still the third-leading cause of disability worldwide, also affects Southeast Asia.
Most patients with mental illness do not receive any treatment. The situation is especially alarming in low-resource settings, where the treatment gap can be as high as 90 per cent.
According to this research, this gap can be attributed to several reasons, including low governmental priority for mental health, which is reflected in delays in developing national-level mental health policies or legislation protecting the human rights of people with mental health problems. Another important contributor to this gap is the lack of both financial and human resources.
Fast-forward to today, there has been a significant movement and awareness raised around the issue. Many startups from the region emerge, offering solutions and platforms to target the 73 per cent people in the region that identify as stress and anxiety issues, according to “The Well Economy: APAC Edition,” a recent report by JWT Intelligence.
The report stated that changing attitudes to health and wellness around Asia Pacific factors into the awareness surrounding the issue. The report, which was based on a survey of 2,500 consumers in five countries (China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and Australia), found that mental health is top of mind across all generations with 71 percent of those surveyed associate health with mental health, more than the 68 percent who associate health with overall physical condition.
Add this to the recent worldwide release of Todd Phillips’ Joker. The mental health awareness seemed to have reached another height, in particular in Southeast Asia, with social posts flooding the timeline with hashtag #MentalHealthAwarenessDay on October 10.
People buzz on social media about how “good people being wronged by society turns into mentally ill people” as the basic idea of mental illness while it’s far-reaching, showing how little education about mental health the society has.
These eight startups are based in Southeast Asia, and each comes out as bringing mental health issues to the surface, finally shine a light on the otherwise overlooked problem in today’s fast-changing, overexposed society.
Riliv was bred in the second-largest city in Indonesia, Surabaya, and one of the very first few to address the mental health issue so in the country. Coming from Audrey Maximillian Herli, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Riliv was an idea built upon a piece of data from the World Health Organisation that said one person kills themselves every 40 seconds.
Speaking to e27 in 2018, Herli explained that Riliv works by allowing users to sign up and immediately get connected to an on-duty psychologist, matched with the problems profiled by the user. Both the user and the psychologist -the Expert Reliever- would agree on a date to have an online counseling session for an hour.
Riliv, who were in Google Business Group Story Search’s top four finalists in 2017, intends to become a safe place for people to talk with the professionals.