In conversation with Sonia Arora Sood and Priyanka Wadhera, Co-Founders, EatLuvNPray.

For situations when someone is experiencing symptoms of a mental health crisis, there is another kind of listening that is the most effective: empathetic listening.

1. What is ELNP?

Eat Luv N Pray is India's largest virtual listening platform, which makes mental health a core to cure any ailment or issues by providing research-based emotional support over phone or video and through discussions and social media. The Emotional Process Outsourcing platform aims to elevate the overall wellbeing of millions of people through the power of listening. The idea is to let people vent their innermost voice with the sure promise of anonymity and thereby prevent acute mental illnesses. 

2. How does merely listening help in ensuring mental wellness?

 Very rightly put in The Mental Health First Aid USA manual - "Most people experiencing distressing emotions and thoughts want an empathetic listener before being offered helpful options and resources." We hear a lot about active listening – listening and responding to another person to improve mutual understanding. For situations when someone is experiencing symptoms of a mental health crisis, there is another kind of listening that is the most effective: empathetic listening. For a person experiencing a mental health problem, having an empathetic listener can be calming and reassuring – even healing.Empathy, unlike sympathy, does not mean we agree with the other person or see things from the same point of view. Instead, it requires taking a moment to step outside of our normal patterns of thinking and feeling to imagine what it feels like to be the person in front of us. Listening quietly, without engaging in problem-solving, signals that you are on that person’s side. This simple gesture validates the other person’s experience. Listening empathetically allows the listener to really hear and understand what is being said. It also makes it easier for the other person to feel they can talk freely without being judged. 

3. Tell us something about the counselling and coaching services being offered by Eat Luv N Pray

This is being done in two simple steps - First one being the listening and the second one being the professional help. To achieve this, we have an exceptional team of trained listeners by highly experienced doctors who will create the need for Professional help whilst lending an ear to the user to promote mental health and add to a mentally healthier society in turn. 

4. What is your target audience and what led to the idea of a virtual listening platform?

The audience we intend to begin with are the Youth of India, particularly in the age group of 15-29 with a mindset that mental health if becomes a priority at an earlier age is easier to fix than to repair older lot. Also, according to The NCRB data 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018, an increase from 9,905 in 2017, and 9,478 in 2016 creating a gap which in our opinion could be an opportunity by creating Mental Health Awareness in early ages to be a priority.

Our own personal experiences - The probability of the need to have someone to talk to v/s availability is what led us to move in the direction of creating this platform 

5. What do you mean when you say you are an aggregator of alternate medicines and therapies?

 As the name suggests, Eat Luv n Pray was created keeping in mind that most of the ailments can be reversed by Eating Right, having Healthy Relationships and Meditating to the best capability of oneself giving way to awareness on the subject by bringing in various people on the platform and promoting them. the idea is to promote holistic health by simply following the mantra - "Eat Luv N Pray".

6. Is the recent spurt in suicide cases a factor behind the launch of ELP?

Not at all. This is something driven by our personal experiences and identifying the need than the recent spurt. 

7. Do you think pandemic and lockdown situations have hampered mental wellness?

Absolutely. There has been a drastic change in the people's lifestyle and as we are all aware changes do bring in unrest giving way to mental instability. It has created a massive emotional upheaval in everyone’s life. And if this is not addressed it will create a slow but massive destruction in various ways.

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