Ankit Dutta is a college student and a person with a kind heart. He started his own helpline service called Saathi Helpline. It provides free of cost support to the individuals in emotional stress and depression. Ankit is currently still working on creating a nationwide free helpline service for those individuals who lost their hope of life. Ankit is also a Tech Lover; He has a great knowledge of computers.
How did you get started in this helpline? What inspired you to start this helpline?
I had a very common yet ironic reason because of which I started this helpline. I was in deep love with a girl who dumped me because she had various irrelevant reasons like I was not suitable, I forced her to be in a relationship, and obviously, she chose to betray me despite my true love and support. I found myself in the middle of panic attacks, depression, and various health issues. My family and friends supported me during this time of crisis. I fought it with strong determination and never give up attitude. But I was worried about other people who might be going through the same problem all over the country. Some might be getting over it while others might be giving in to it. This gave me the inspiration to start Saathi Helpline.
What are the issues your helpline covers and provides support for?
We cover almost all kinds of issue, whether you are depressed because of your love life, studies, issues related to cyberbullying, social media threats or any other, we make sure that you are helped. You will be treated just like a family member with the utmost love and respect. The best thing about Saathi Helpline is our dedication towards their work. We don’t take it as our job, we enjoy doing this and that’s why we are doing it. We are available to help you almost all the time 24/7*365. Of course, due to the compact number of members in the team, sometimes we might be unavailable. You are in trouble; we consider it as our personal concern and try to solve it as soon as possible.
How does this helpline operate or how does your team provide support?
The victim connects to us via Live Chats or Calling sessions which are answered by well-trained volunteers, which enables the victim to talk over his/her feelings with the volunteer who offers non-judgmental, caring, empathic support. The volunteer will work with the caller to encourage greater understanding and awareness of the caller’s issues and to help the caller develop more positive coping strategies. Some have found themselves in situations where they feel they have no control over their own lives. The volunteers try to help them by whatever possible means, but there are times when someone does not understand it. This tells that nothing could be 100% perfect and so is Saathi Helpline. We do not assure your safety but we do promises that we will try our best to get them out of this unpleasant phase. Saathi helpline is in no way a helpline that claims to prevent them from committing suicides because all we can do is suggest ways and necessary actions to cope up with the situation, following them totally depends upon the individual.
What about the privacy of the caller? Is it completely secured?
Everyone loves their own privacy and never wants to ruin their privacy. Some people like to reveal this phase of their life whereas some want to keep it confidential. Irrespective of their choice, we keep all the personal data secured. We do not ask the callers any personal details. Even the volunteers don’t have access to your private data.
How many individuals does your team have supported till now?
We have helped over 150 individuals in the last quarter. And overall we have helped many individuals. we do not count the number but we count the issues for our reference.
I am grateful that my team is working hard for helping others free of cost.
Is it really free or any hidden charges are there?
Everyone asks me about the pricing but You will be amazed to know that there is absolutely no charge for getting help from Saathi Helpline. Yes, you heard it right, it’s free. It is completely free but if someone finds it really good then they can donate us as per their choice so that we can improve the quality of service with that money as well as donate the amount to the orphanages.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Yes, as I am also a human being I doubted if this will work or not. Because as a student I had very few savings and I exhausted all my savings in it. I spent sleepless nights designing the platform and trying to figure out how to make it work fine.
Self-Confidence, Determination, and Self-belief are the things which made me handle this.
How did you all feel after helping the first caller?
To be honest, I was quite nervous when I got a call from a victim of Social Media Threat. But when I transferred the chat to our team, they handled her very well. and We felt amazing after helping her with her issues. Her appreciation letter and a smile in her tone lifted our moral and we moved forward to help more individuals.
What is the most satisfying thing in this service?
The most satisfying thing in this service is hearing a tone of relief from their voice after speaking with them. It feels great when we get to know that we have successfully supported one more individual.
Anymore service your helpline provides?
Yes, we also organize seminars in schools to educate students about emotional distress and stress. we believe that the School is the best place to educate individuals. These seminars are also free of cost. we do not charge anything from any school or organization.
Credit to anyone for this?
Yes, I give credit to my friends and family for supporting me in the hard time. Special thanks and credit to that girl who casted me aside. And a special credit to my team and my best friends i.e. Ashutosh and Ayan. They still support me, this type of friends make a complete and successful man.