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Mental Health: Product Perspective and Ideas


Covid-19 not only affected our physical health but also our mental well-being. National lockdowns triggered mental health issues and exponentially increased the feeling of loneliness in individuals.

Mental well-being is important at every stage of life. It includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel, and act. It also determines how we cope with stress and go about making day-to-day decisions.

Although the pandemic adversely affected the physical health of our loved ones, the mental health of people across the globe also took a hit. Early stages of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns were hard on all of us, in different ways. People reported feeling more agitated, lonely, more stressed and more restless.

User research

In order to understand the scale of the problem, we interacted with 35+ people, in the age group of 18-35 years and found that 62% (or 23) of users surveyed felt lonely and 51% (or 19) felt the lockdown took a toll on their mental health. Mental health issues are clearly a major problem in the young populace. As a follow-up, we also inquired how our users were trying to cope-up with this underlying feeling. Following chart summarizes the same.

Activities undertaken to cope with loneliness and mental health issues

Pain points

Our user research played a critical role in validating our hypothesis. Although, basis these conversations we realised that the overarching issue of loneliness existed, it was essential to lay down the pain-points (with their causes) to understanding exactly what we were trying to solve for -

● An increase in sense of loneliness (62%) due to lack of interaction in social settings Need: To build a sense of togetherness amongst friends and the extended community

In absence of in-person meet ups, a lot of consumption through current channels like OTT (59%), reading (35%) etc. remains passive, an isolated experience - the one-to-one connection is missing. Need: To bring about an active form of interaction

● With a sudden decrease in “eventful” life happenings at an individual level, friends sometimes do not really have much to discuss between one another. This leads to infrequent conversations. Need: To add spark, build conversation starters and increase the frequency of conversations

Problem Statement

Based on the results of our user survey and the pain points identified, we aim to build a product nudging users to engage in conversations based on topics of mutual interests.

Potential solution and technology involved

We intend to solve this problem by building an AI/bot based aggregator platform which will work as an aid to existing messaging platforms. This bot will serve as an additional individual and nudge users to interact with each other, by sending conversational messages to the group. To promote scalability and user uptake, we realised its ideal to build our solution over an already existing medium, rather than starting from scratch.

So why Telegram?

We considered several factors to arrive at Telegram as the messaging platform of choice; primarily comparing Telegram with WhatsApp. The recent tussle between WhatsApp and the GoI has created a poor perception for it when it comes to user privacy. And although WhatsApp provides a high network effect, what works for Telegram is the ease of access to its APIs as well as the ability to create large user groups.

User personas

The target group for our product consists of two types of users in the age group of 18-35 years -

● Individuals wishing to actively engage in conversations with their loved ones in order to overcome loneliness, and

● Individuals (admin) seeking to build an active community and keeping it engaged in conversations of mutual interests.

Product functionalities for different types of users -

The functionalities of our product, Conectar, varies as per user type. User journeys for different user types are mentioned below -

● The onboarding user journey is exclusive to a first time user and will serve as a starting point to help users understand the step-by-step flow and their interaction with the product

○ A first time user will be able to register on the platform and sync their Telegram group chats with our website

● We will include a functionality that will allow users to select subject areas of their interest, basis which they will receive messages that will act as a nudge to spark conversations -

○ Users who are admins of their Telegram groups will be able to choose areas of interest from an entire catalogue

○ Non-admins will have the option to view interests specific to their group, but will not be able to edit them

At our end, we aim to collect data on:

● Name, location, contact associated

● Message topics which were most frequently sent

● Trending topics - most searched

● Phone no. against the topic

● Aggregate of messages against 30 days

● No. of messages clicked or initiated conversation against the total

Using a free analytics bot on Telegram, Combot, we aim to track the following data:

● Number of messages shared

● Number of active users over a defined period

● Activity by day

● Activity by new users

Success Metrics

We aim to take a data-driven approach to measure success and define certain metrics based on the variables above, which can be benchmarked against our initial hypothesis. Our initial user sample will help us determine whether the hypothesis stands true or not.

These metrics would allow us to judge performance related to onboarding, user engagement, and retention.

Our North Star Metric is whether Conectar has made our target users feel less lonely and improved their mental well-being in some way. And so, user engagement becomes one of our key success metrics.

Psychologists have stated how people intuitively turn inward instead of outward when they are feeling low or distant. That is the exact gap which we are trying to bridge - initiating a nudge or a conversation starter based on topics of mutual interests between friends and family to help them feel closer to one another even in these distant times.

Meet The Thought Leaders

Shatakshi Sharma has been a management consultant with BCG and is Co- Founder of Global Governance Initiative with national facilitation of award- Economic Times The Most Promising Women Leader Award, 2021 and Linkedin Top Voice, 2021.

Prior to graduate school at ISB, she was Strategic Advisor with the Government of India where she drove good governance initiatives. She was also felicitated with a National Young Achiever Award for Nation Building. She is a part time blogger on her famous series-MBA in 2 minutes.

Naman Shrivastava is the Co-Founder of Global Governance Initiative. He has previously worked as a Strategy Consultant in the Government of India and is working at the United Nations - Office of Internal Oversight Services. Naman is also a recipient of the prestigious Harry Ratliffe Memorial Prize - awarded by the Fletcher Alumni of Color Executive Board. He has been part of speaking engagements at International forums such as the World Economic Forum, UN South-South Cooperation etc. His experience has been at the intersection of Management Consulting, Political Consulting, and Social entrepreneurship

Kshitij Maheshwari is a growth and user experience-focused product manager. He has worked with some of the most innovative startups and technology companies in the bay area like Tesla, Roofstock and now is working on product lead growth for Invoice2go. Outside of work, you can find him enjoying deep discussions about the future of the Marvel universe and finding great new places to satisfy his sweet tooth.

Meet The Authors (GGI Fellows)

Anubhav Dubey is building a career in Analytics. If you find crypto, metaverse, startups interesting, feel free to connect with him.

S Prasanth Vasan is working as a Business Analyst at Zoomrx in the pharma consulting industry. He has previously worked as an Applications Developer in the fintech space. He is a graduate from NIT Trichy with a B.Tech in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. He is passionate about the tech space and is looking forward to making a career in the Product Management vertical. Outside of work, he is a travel enthusiast, loves going on hikes and enjoys playing badminton.

Shrey Sood works at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), one of Asia’s leading Think Tanks. With a unique blend of product management and public policy, his work revolves around designing fit-for-purpose solutions to address market risks that block capital flows (into the clean energy sector) and assist policymakers, industry and investors in data-driven decision making. He has worked closely across wide range of stakeholders, including GoI and Mckinsey, to build first-of-its-kind products and advance India's energy transition.

Palak Raheja is a Central Category Manager at Urban Company. She recently completed a stint at Arete Advisors, a boutique management consulting firm, as a Business Analyst in the healthcare sector, prior to which she majored in Statistics from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. She is passionate about exploring sectors she is completely alien to and mentoring young students and professionals while they navigate through their professional journeys.

If you are interested to apply to GGI Impact Fellowship, you can access our application link here.

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