What is Runaway? Why the name ‘Runaway’?
Runaway is a social entrepreneurial venture that aims to promote mental health awareness and combat the stigma around mental health. The project is called Runaway as through our past cases we encountered that most people had the urge to run away from their problems and we want to be the place that they ‘Runaway’ to.
What qualifies you to help these individuals? Is there some type of formal education or other indication of your competence/quality level?
Satvik Sethi started this project 3 years ago, he was up late one night and stumbled across an image on Instagram of someone self harming, despite only being 16 at the time his first response was to drop a comment saying "I'm here for you if you need to talk", in just that one night he found 6 similar images and spoke to each one of them, not in the capacity of a counselor or therapist but in the capacity of a friend, not giving them medical advice but instead a safe space to openly talk about their problems. Over the last 3 years he has spoken to over 150 people, each conversation lasting for varying periods of time till they feel better, he believes there’s no formal education required to be a friend to someone. But for the various mental health awareness talks and events that Runaway hosts, the team members are trained through various online educational tools and resources. In the future, Runaway also plans to partner with various counselors and therapists to come on board as professional staff.
How do you recruit volunteers? What are the requirements?
For the volunteers itself we have a very stringent screening process with written applications and several rounds of telephonic or face-to-face interviews. Apart from that we plan to have training sessions and workshops for all our volunteers in partnerships with local hospitals, therapists and counselors to prepare them to face a variety of situations and how to deal with these situations effectively.
Why do people need Runaway specifically, is there no other service that can help these people? What makes this idea different?
Over the last three years Satvik Sethi has been reaching out to each and every person with mental health problems to offer help, but over time he realized that this is not only personally taxing and hectic, but that he was also unable to reach a large number of people still battling these issues. By establishing Runaway and getting more active volunteers we can simply reach out and help out more people. What sets it apart is that it's going to be a completely free service that is only designed to help more and more people without any actual personal gain except the joy of helping people. Yes, there are a number of services and apps that exist and that do similar things. Some similar apps allow people to log on and vent out their problems with no response, it's one-way communication and then you hit submit, not ideal for someone who needs an active listener. Other services that come incredibly close to Runaway as a concept lack execution. Satvik Sethi has used each of these available services, has been reading reviews online, and conducting market surveys to create Runaway as a platform that is most efficient, and one that provides something that's actually helpful.
When should one go for professional therapy? How is a therapist useful, and what is the process of finding a therapist like? What are some types, benefits and alternatives of therapy?
Remember, therapy is never a bad thing. The hand you grab during therapy is a helping one. Your happiness and comfort should be your first priority, and although we are here to help, we urge you to consult a professional if you ever feel the need. We understand that the thought of visiting a therapist can be incredibly daunting, so we've listed a few ways on how to go about the process. Your needs could be entirely different or exactly the same as mentioned below.
1. When should you go for therapy?
- All your feelings are extreme, intense, and you feel insecure about your thoughts, decisions, and relationships.
- You've suffered a trauma and you cannot stop thinking about it. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can be caused by a trauma of varying degrees. It can be due to the occurrence of an injury to you or someone else, or a natural disaster which has left you in a dire state. At any stage, you should always seek help.
- You have unexplained head, back, and stomach aches and a rundown immune system. Stress and anxiety felt on a recurring basis has direct impact on your physical and biological functioning as well. It should not be ignored.
- A sudden change in your environment, whether planned or unplanned has created havoc in your life. Whether it's a new work place, or shifting houses/schools, new places, new people too have an impact on how we feel. If you are stressed due to that, you should opt for therapy.
- You're getting bad feedback at school/work. Your performance falls after a while of being under stress, whether self imposed or not. This leads to a vicious cycle of you feeling low due to your poor performance.
- You're using a substance, such as alcohol, to cope with your stress. This included increasing the quantity of the substance if you already consume it.
- You become disinterested/unable to engage in activities you love.
- Your relationships are strained and lack communication.
- Your friends have told you that "they're concerned" about you. The people around you, particularly those who care, notice a change in you and your behaviour before you get an inkling about it. So if they're worried, listen to their words.
- You feel disconnected on a lot or every front of your life.
2. Difference between a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and Therapist.
- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and is the only one amongst the above mentioned who is allowed to prescribe medicines as a part of your treatment. No regular sessions are held with a psychiatrist, and many people are surprised to realise that the doctor only observes the client for 15-25 minutes, perhaps once in two weeks, just to change the dose of medicines if required.
- A psychologist sees you more often, maybe twice-thrice a week. The client and the psychologist are a lot closer. But, psychologists are usually consulted for a non medical treatment of more diagnosable mental topics such as Dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, PTSD, OCD, Somantic Disorders, etc.
- A therapist is again, met with more frequency, and more closer to the client. A therapist is frequented by people going through anxiety, depression, and emotional and mental burden of varying sorts, etc. A therapist provides a warm, trusting and non judgemental environment for the client and the client can talk about anything with the therapist.
3. Locating a professional
Locating a therapist can be difficult at times, as you want to make sure you're comfortable with the individual. Speaking to friends, and others who may have experienced interactions with therapists, can help you get in touch with therapists around you. Often, psychologists and therapists themselves recommend other professionals for their clients if they feel the client can improve better with someone else.
4. What to expect from therapy?
Before entering therapy, you should know a few things.
- Different therapists, different theories. Many therapists believe in various different schools of thought when it comes to psychology. They accordingly change their methods of treatment. Experimenting with different kinds of therapists to find what suits you best is often advised.
- therapy helps most people, but it needs time and patience.
- Your therapist will keep things real with you, and not try to sugar coat things. This may sound harsh to some but is the best way to face the truth.
- The first few sessions could be very awkward, but it gets better.
- It is important to understand that it is okay to want a therapist with a similar origin, background, or sexual orientation as you.
- Things and situations could get slightly worse after interacting with the therapist, but that is normal. It is because you are in the process of understanding a lot more about the problems than you thought you knew and it gets okay from then on. Do not worry.
- Once you start to talk, there is no anxiety, but a sense of relief.
- Your therapist will not force things out of you. Therapy usually goes at a slow, or whichever pace you as a client are comfortable with.
- You will change, and so will your perceptions. That is something that is required to allow you to fight whichever battles you are faced with that cause you to go for therapy in the first place.
5. Alternatives to therapy
Beginning therapy as a whole can too be stressful, whether due to the stigma attached it, your comfort level, or the expenditure involved. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself for a while. While most of these methods have proven to help most users, it is advised you try out a mixed bag for yourself and see what suits you the most.
- Changing your work environment, route of going to school/work.
- Changing your wardrobe.
- Drinking water and eating healthy
- Going for a walk
- Listening to calming music
- keeping a journal and writing about your day as often as possible.
For any more concerns or questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.