In the Philippines there are only 460 psychiatrists for 100 million people — Importance of peer-to-peer services
There are billions of stories that are never told. Stories that are too hard to tell or there is no-one who would listen or understand. Shame and stigma are huge problems causing mental health issues. According to WHO, 30% of the population worldwide will have some form of mental disorder at some point of their life. 66% of those people receive no treatment. Massive and untapped market.
In the Southeast Asia, mental health has been a low priority. There are massive workforce deﬁciencies: for example, in the Philippines there are only 460 psychiatrists for population of 100 million inhabitants (WHO).
Firstly, since there is shortage of mental health professionals in Southeast Asia as well as in many other Asian countries, the official healthcare system cannot provide emotional support for all of those, who need help. Secondly, counseling services (face-to-face psychotherapy) aren’t affordable for people living under $5 dollars a day.
Changing the way how people get help
Heimo is an anonymous & safe online community for depression and other life challenges. On Heimo you can share your stories without judgement and shame with people who have experienced the same challenges. We use crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer model to solve the problem of mental health issues by allowing ordinary people to get support and help one another emotionally without shame and losing dignity.
Mental health problems are one of the biggest health challenges in the world. Now, it’s the era of peer-to-peer economics where ordinary people offer and receive services from others on a platform. On Heimo, the concept of peer-to-peer is applied in the context of mental health and well-being. In our view, this is probably the only viable solution to provide help to large populations of people with mental issues.
Our ultimate mission is to prevent depression becoming the biggest disease in the world by 2030.
So, why does Heimo have the potential to be better than other ways of addressing the challenge?
What is unique about Heimo, is that we address problems that some other social networks have created such as loneliness, feeling of unworthiness, depression or cyberbullying. Heimo is anonymous, safe platform with no harassment, where emotional help is just one click away.
Heimo is made for peer support unlike other network services available today. Heimo platform can ward off the negativity and the online abuse so common in other bigger sites as the current crop of users is very engaged, leaving little room for vitriolic online behavior.
Our story so far
For the past 6 months, we have been piloting in different market areas and looking for our market fit. During our marketing pilot (duration 6 months) we have had 60.000 unique users mainly from Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia). Now we focus on continuing the rapid user growth in this geographic area. We have also improved the features of the platform in collaboration with the active users that have resulted increased conversion rate from 6.8% up to 22%. Over 60.000 stories have been written and Heimo has been featured on major medias in the Philippines.
Most important thing, we have already allowed thousands of people to receive emotional support by connecting them with one another in short period.