E4m Healthcare Communication Conference: How to Connect with Consumers in Uncertain Times



The recent e4m conference on health communication saw a panel discussion on “Strategies for ensuring and sustaining mental health”. The webinar speakers were Dr Bhavana Gautam, Wellness Consultant, Counselor and Life Coach; Dr Vispi Jokhi, CEO, Masina Hospital; Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice President – Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities, and Nitiz Murdia, Co-Founder and Director, Indira IVF and MS Shamantha, Fortis. The session was moderated by Naziya Alvi Rahman, editor at exchange4media.

Panelists discussed how to communicate with consumers during this time of uncertainty and heightened anxiety. They also shared their ideas on how brands need to change the way they market and sell to consumers in order to stay in touch with their target audiences and advance their business goals while remaining mindful of the mental well-being of consumers. .

Sharing his point of view, Dr Vispi Jokhi said: “Masina is an elegant institution which has been a mental health facility for almost 25 years. We have always had a range of cases, ranging from very mild psychosis to very severe psychosis. During this period, since indoor admissions were restricted, there were many patients who could not seek the help they needed, due to which they were suffering at home. So we immediately thought about going on the digital platform and going digital in a broader way than what we were conventionally doing. We made sure to keep the services running. And we tried to defer admissions as long as possible. But it was very difficult. However, once the lockdown started to lift and we were able to learn more about Covid, and the fear of Covid decreased, we gradually began to accommodate patients, more and more in individual rooms. . “

According to Dr Bhavana Gautam, “It cannot be a generalized approach. It has to be well personalized and it has to really understand the fears and work around them. Some of these fears may just be fears. It may have no basis. The main job remains that the board must take into consideration all aspects such as their nutrition, their physical form, their social bond. In fact, their holistic health played a much bigger role, rather than that piecemeal approach that was implemented earlier. “

According to Nitiz Murdia, “The biggest problem with Covid is that when it suddenly hit the world, people didn’t know how to react. They didn’t know what it can cause or what it can do, and how to protect themselves. Numerically, a lot of deceptive things were broadcast in the media, which confused a lot of people. We make a lot of efforts, especially with the help of telemedicine, teleconsultation. We have provided them with a hotline, so they can get in touch with our doctors and don’t have to go to hospitals unnecessarily. We tried to provide them with genuine information because a lot of misleading information was circulating. “

According to MS Shamantha, “We have to look for the signs and symptoms. Any mental health disorder, or symptom for that matter, will have certain symptoms. These may be physiological symptoms; they can be emotional symptoms. So we need to understand what these symptoms are and what are these signs and what are they related to. So if it’s anxiety elsewhere. The person will show bodily clues, or they will have some sort of reaction to a particular situation. If it is depression, they will try to avoid social situations where they might isolate themselves or they might cry excessively. They may also face sleep and appetite disturbances. In such a case, one must first understand who is very close to that person. Communicating the way you do is also important. You can’t talk about it in public, or say it in a way that might be disrespectful or offensive to that person, because it’s a sensitive issue. Mental health and stigma go hand in hand. So I’m thinking of reducing that stigma and normalizing that you can get help, whether it’s through medication or just through therapy. We must also help them understand that people who just want to talk about their week also go to mental health professionals and that it is not just people who have serious mental health problems. Therefore, informing and educating people will really help.

“The first thing you need to do is be a real listener. I realized that most of the time people want help, they just don’t ask for it. Because like I said, it’s a stigma, or their egos get in their way, or they feel like they’re going to be judged. So I’m used to training people who come to me for someone else. I train them on how to be a better listener so that maybe then the other person will feel a lot more comfortable saying, “Okay you know what, I think I’ll take your suggestion. . “

Mental illness survivor Piali Dasgupta shared her story. She explained, “I have been in pain for over 23 years and continue to live with clinical depression and anxiety. Mental health is a spectrum. Speaking specifically of what kind of support system you need at work, I think India is far behind. And that’s a challenge, because it’s a double battle for people like us. We are fighting a battle with our own mind, where there are voices in your head that you cannot necessarily control. And there are voices that keep telling you that “you are going to fail” or “your life is not worth living”, “you are not good enough”, “everything is wrong, everything is fine. wrong “. So it is an internal battle that you are fighting. And then on the outside, you struggle with the ecosystem that you live in, that identifies you, as someone looking for reliability or someone who is a loner or who is not the person of a people, which is generally not considered a good sign in a business setup. But I think even today organizations don’t have any structured way of dealing with people with mental illness. There is no policy in place, there is no structured way of dealing with people, there is a lack of awareness and a great deal of neglect. “

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