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Meet ECHO, a Malaysian Startup That Promotes #SelfLove at Work

Left: CEO of ECHO, Samiksha Banu Chandran. Top: CMO, Sashya Siddhartha. Right: COO, Shazuan Danial

When it comes to love, it’s easy to only think about our significant others, especially on Valentine’s Day. But in post-COVID-19 Malaysia, self-love and mental well-being are on the rise, especially in the workplace.

Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being are all part of our mental health. It is also what people think, how they feel, and how they act.

Mental health issues are characterized by a clinically significant change in a person’s ability to think, control their emotions, or act. There are many kinds of health issues, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders, and bipolar disorder, which can have a negative effect on a person’s life at home and at work.

Globally, it is estimated that 5% of adults suffer from depression, and more women are affected than men. – Source: WHO

Recognizing the rising importance of mental health, ECHO (Everyone Can Help Out) is working to create a supportive and positive work environment.

“Prevention is better than cure. Organizations should implement initiatives around early-intervention treatment, communication, and training resources. This helps to create an accessible workplace that fosters engagement, attracts talent, and reduces turnover rates,” said Samiksha Banu Chandran, ECHO’s founder.

The Employee Mental Health Experience

ECHO offers various services, including surveys, training, counseling, and workplace audits for mental health.

The survey evaluates employees’ physical, mental, and work-life well-being. This is done through a helpful questionnaire that produces physical and mental health scores and a score for their overall work-life satisfaction. This is followed by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a skills-based training course.

Samiksha thinks that the impact of their services not only improves employees’ mental health but also that of organizations, leading to better financial ROI with fewer sick days taken.

ECHO team with a support group
The team at a support group

A Growing Market

By 2030, the market for mental health is expected to be worth USD 537.97 billion. In 2020, this market was valued at $393.31 billion, according to Allied Market Research. Venture capital investments in mental health-related startups exploded in 2020. For example, in the US, which dominates the global behavioral health and mental health software market, there were only two mental health unicorns in 2019.

Fast forward to 2023, and there are seven: Genoa, Lyra Health, Calm, BetterUp, Talkspace, Modern Health and Ginger. There are almost no Malaysian leading startups addressing mental health issues besides Naluri.

Samiksha founded ECHO after experiencing burnout; she turned her problems into a startup idea and was one of the top two winners in the Alpha Startups™ Pre-Accelerator Program (Cohort 43), where ECHO received an investment of RM50,000 as pre-seed funding from 1337 Ventures.

With the funding, ECHO intends to expand its services. The team is aiming to lead legal policy changes on mental health. “We are also hoping to scale both geographically,” Samiksha adds, outlining their future strategy. They are eager to include more consultants and MHFA trainers to support their growth.

You should have more faith in yourself this Valentine’s Day. You can be a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time. If you want to start a startup but don’t know how to turn your ideas into solutions, the Alpha Startups Online course from 1337 Ventures can help you build the foundation for your startup. Visit Alpha Startups Online to start learning for free right now, anywhere, at any time.

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