How did Mentalogue begin?
It started with a very simple question.
Clarrise Ng, Founder
24 November 2018
Coming back home from a stint studying abroad and beginning my first year of work, I was in a bit of a pickle. I had been putting off seeing a therapist in Malaysia for awhile, thinking that I needed to settle into work, test the waters, and was frankly terrified that my employer would react badly to disclosures of mental illness.
After awhile, it dawned on me that I had to get it out of the way, else risk spiraling into yet another deep dark hole I couldn’t climb out of until it was too late. Thankfully, the workplace doctor was understanding. My therapist at university had stressed upon me the importance of building a support system back home, and it was high time I did so. Thus began the highly annoying effort of finding a decent therapist here.
I wanted a good one, affordable, and accessible by public transport since I did not have a car. I also didn’t want to be taking Grab rides every single session, the sessions themselves would be expensive enough. I was also unsure about whether therapists I Googled were legitimate or religiously affiliated.
I also didn’t know if they could deal with issues of identity or my particularly noxious brand of cynicism. I also didn’t want to keep calling up people and asking for appointments, explaining my life story all over and over again. It was tiring.
Mentalogue began with a very simple question – “How can I find a therapist that works for me?”
So I asked a friend. A friend sent me a WhatsApp message from another friend. That friend had compiled a list of 5 or so centers, with information on pricing, their own experience, and location. It was very useful. I got a therapist. I went. And then I thought, why wasn’t this information already out there? Why was it so hard to organize the fragmented, opaque mental health provision space? Why were people unsure and afraid to seek mental health services, and spread rumours about treatment and those seeking treatment? I realized this was a problem, and we needed a solution.
My vision for Mentalogue, a blend of “mental” and “dialogue”, or “catalogue”, is to be able to, through a dedicated portal, look for a mental health service provider near me, easy to get to, and legit. I want it to book my appointment, and not make me exhausted by trying to call up multiple people and schedule appointments I simply don’t have the energy to get to.
I also want to be able to know about events and workshops that encourage mindfulness, peace, calm, life. I want it to connect me to others seeking support.
I want Mentalogue to make life more accessible, understanding, and equitable. To build a lifestyle of wellbeing.
Eventually, I want to build a culture of wellness. This would include a sense of community, and seeking professional therapy as one of the options. We aren’t selling a particular service, we provide that service, but what we are selling is taking control of your own wellness and putting it in the hands of the client, you. This is what I want for Mentalogue. This is what I want for everyone.