Farah Sarosh: A Sociopreneur Eradicating Mental Health Stigma with NurtureLife

Farah Sarosh
Farah Sarosh

Not many know exactly what they want to become when they grow up. However, Farah Sarosh, the CEO of NurtureLife, had it all figured out since she was a child. She wanted nothing but to become a Sociopreneur.

Farah stands different from a lot of others because she had a unique approach to this noble profession. She believes that the process of positive change in society must begin at home. In her opinion, one must bring meaningful change in their own home before moving on to change the world around them.

Now, one must wonder why she chose Mental Health as the domain of her social work. She was in AMU when Farah’s hostel mate ended her own life due to depression. “It was after this unfortunate incident that I decided to work for Mental Health Awareness,” shares Farah.

The Challenge: The lack of awareness of mental health in our society was a challenge that Farah had to face. She observed the lack of meaningful conversation or any efforts whatsoever to educate the masses about mental health.

Though she was not one to give up, Farah took these challenges head-on. And aided by innovation and dedication, she founded NurtureLife–a not-for-profit organization that provides actionable solutions to a range of mental health problems.

My vision for NurtureLife has been to take mental health awareness to the grassroots of our society, where mental well-being is hardly a topic for discussion,” states Farah.

She wanted Nurture Life to provide a platform that motivates people to discuss the problems of inner conflict that ails them. NurtureLife conducts a variety of activities in the fields of Emotional Intelligence, Suicide Prevention, and other problems relating to mental health.

Farah adds, “My mission with Nurture Life is to eradicate the stigma around issues relating to mental health in our society. Behind each of my efforts toward mental health is the intention to tell people suffering from mental health issues that they’re not alone and there’s still hope.”

Through Nurture Life, Farah has taken mental health awareness to millions by conducting events in the USA, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, East Africa, and other countries.

In an interview with Insights Success, Farah spoke in detail about her own experiences, accomplishments, accolades, awards, and NurtuteLife’s present and future plans. The highlights of the interview are given herein.

What qualities and values do you think your colleagues, caregivers, and patients admire in you the most?

It’s crucial that team members find a method to enjoy working together when working with others. I believe that one can enhance cooperation and collaboration abilities by fostering a sense of camaraderie. Our part in this is to contribute to a productive workplace by being the greatest teammate we can be.

To me, a good co-worker is someone who their co-workers love being around. They want to see their group thrive and achieve the organization’s objectives. An excellent co-worker is enjoyable to be around, too. We ought to respect our teammates and have a positive outlook. We have greater prospects for growth when we work well with others since they may view us as a capable leader and dependable partner.

I’ve heard from my team members a lot about a couple of my leadership traits, such as how adaptable, attentive, collaborative, and creative I am. They particularly value my goal-oriented style and always appreciated my upbeat attitude. They also view me as organized, passionate, resourceful, and respectful.

Tell us more about NurtureLife’s offering and what aspects make it stand out in today’s society.

Nurturelife’s tagline “Together We Can” stands strong to its name. NurtureLife has and continues to work tremendously towards mental health, suicide prevention, education, and emotional intelligence, making sure its intentions and voice reach every corner of the world. We provide a safe space to voice out mental health concerns and provide relevant and practical solutions to people facing difficulties. We generously extend our hands toward people in need of mental health support.

It’s noteworthy to bring to light one of the strongest factors that strengthen the roots of NurtureLife, which is our motive to cater to the needs of all segments of the population, age, sex, etc., thereby uplifting and empowering the neglected strata of the society.

NurtureLife is a perfect example of ‘tackling global problems through global lenses.’ We work in collaboration with multiple countries like the USA, KSA, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Africa to name a few. We spread much-needed awareness about mental health through multi-perspective means.

There is a multitude of initiatives that we have taken and excelled in like- Mentoring programs, talk shows, free clinics and workshops, mental health awards, classes through NurtureLife academy, awareness drives, and NurtureLife books.

We have also wonderfully utilized the power of media by taking the help of films for spreading information about mental health, a very recent example of which is ‘The Storm Within’, a film that aptly captures the issues of mental health and suicide prevention.

It is remarkable for us how NurtureLife significantly contributes to the youth’s mental health and personality development through its intensive internship programs. The interns work on ground-level problems while simultaneously burnishing their oratory, communication, presentation, and leadership skills. We give the full freedom to bring out the potential in every member of the NurtureLife community.

As a Leading Sociopreneur, what are your achievements?

For our efforts, we had been awarded…

  • The Title Swastika Mitra by the UP State Minister,
  • The Warrior Award from An International Organization,
  • the Impact Award from the Women Alumni Association of Aligarh Muslim University, and
  • Change Maker Award ’22, to name a few.

The awards were given to recognize promising and successful Sociopreneur with excellence in large-scale, system change models. We are one of the key enablers of inclusive growth who implement practical and sustainable solutions to address challenges in the mental health field, access to technology, and job creation.

Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies like AI and ML impacts the Not-For-Profit space and how NurtureLife is leveraging these technologies.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) are on the cusp of being integrated into every business as a result of technological advancements, and education is no exception.

Learning can be tailored for pupils with AI-enabled. Data has been seen as a valuable primary knowledge resource in recent years as a result of the development of machine learning. Due to the significant increase in demand for AI/ML from the IT sector and favourable employment prospects, more students are enrolling in the course.

We are using such technology as a tool to improve our commercial strategies. To increase accuracy and productivity, we have used AI and machine learning in everything from counselling to academics. Automating and streamlining repetitive procedures save a lot of time and money.

NurtureLife has taken advantage of this technology particularly to reach every nook and corner of the world during and even post covid scenarios. It helped us in conducting various events and activities throughout the two years when fieldwork had to be abandoned.

It was through technology that NurtureLife reached different places, regions, and nations. It has helped us in furthering our work in collaboration with people and organizations of these regions/places. Technology has aided us in expanding our work to a global level.

Considering the current scenario, what kind of challenges do you face, and how do you drive NurtureLife to overcome them?

Nobody wants to discuss mental health, let’s face it. The stigma is stifling and alienating, and the subject is still taboo. The stigma surrounding mental health results from a lack of knowledge about mental illness (ignorance and disinformation), as well as from prejudice on the part of some people.

This may result in prejudice against those who suffer from mental illness. Inaccurate stereotypes about those who have mental illnesses, the sensationalization of situations through unnecessary references to mental illness, and the use of aggressive or derogatory language are all ways that the media can contribute to the perpetuation of a stigma.

You or a loved one might be dealing with a mental illness, but because they fear being judged or, worse, losing their jobs, many people are reluctant to discuss it with anyone.

NurtureLife is constantly working towards overcoming these difficulties. We are constantly promoting Mental health literacy, which is important for reducing stigma. In different ways, we tried people to talk about mental health issues openly. We ran campaigns to educate people on mental health, to make people realize to understand general the concept of mental well-being and the difference between mental health and mental illnesses.

Furthermore, we conduct sessions to help people learn to practice kindness and compassion, and had organized Free Mental Health Screening. The main aim of our organization has always been to encourage the youth to participate and volunteer in Awareness Events.

What would be your advice to budding Sociopreneurs who aspire to venture into the Non-Profit sector?

I think there are a few essential strategies for becoming a Sociopreneur. One has to decide what philanthropy means to them. Working for a social cause should be your passion. When we work for a social cause one has to be solution-centric.

If we don’t have this approach there’s no use in choosing this field. Because it’s a nonprofitable field; one has to think like an investor and have the ability to take risks. There are so many areas to work in this field, one has to find areas of interest to get involved. This field needs a lot of self-motivation. One should know how to help themselves in hard times and embrace their Passion for social good. Empathy is the key to success.

According to you how Women Business Leaders can make an impact in furthering the Non-Profit drive in society?

A company’s commitment to social responsibility depends on the leadership of women. I believe that women are more considerate of the feelings of their employees, and as a result, they make them feel comfortable by encouraging them to discuss anything.

Despite being the only person to do a job or work, women frequently refer to their accomplishments as ‘we’ when speaking about them. Women in business possess skills that have the potential to change workplace norms.

I feel women tend to lead with compassion, integrity, and respect, which differs from the way males typically do. Compared to men, they display greater empathy and compassion. I believe we women successfully juggle our personal and professional life.

We, therefore, urge our teammates to multitask and choose priorities because they can do so. This helps a lot in challenging the traditional gender roles and helps society move forward by bringing in the awareness that both household and work can be managed, especially by a woman, if the priorities are set and followed.

How do you envision scaling NurtureLife’s services and offerings in the future?

Considering the needs of the existing problems of society, especially with the youth’s mental health, we want to strengthen and expand. We focus on becoming a one-stop shop for mental health. Being a Sociopreneur one of the most important aspects of what we do for our organization is to spend enough time to envision the organization’s future and make it a continuous process.

Envisioning what the organization should look like and where I should focus to get there is not always easy to determine. To be successful, we have to understand how to develop and execute long-term, value-creating strategies. Developing foresight is necessary, although not always easy or obvious.

SWOC: To stay in the market, the NurtureLife team performs a SWOC (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Challenges) analysis on regular basis.

Know what we don’t know: One of the most common errors I have seen in the process of envisioning an organization’s future has to be the failure to understand there are things we don’t know. Making assumptions can lead to significant errors in judgment. To stay updated is the utmost need for me especially being a leader.

Identify problems and risks: I enjoy investing, and one of the key areas I focus on before making any decision is to understand the potential problems and risks. We should also think about what problems our clients will face going forward. It is very important to find creative solutions to challenges that allow us to develop unique and strong future solutions in our area.

Understand our differentiators: To be successful we have to offer a unique solution or service that our competition cannot easily provide. This is the basis of differentiation and the path to greater success we have to ensure and understand how our organization will be different in the future.

Many Sociopreneur merely reacts to changes in their area. The most successful organization creates the market demand. With the technology we have available today, even a small company can transform the market and be a disruptor.

Plan to be transformative: Being transformative means to change, not just a little, into something different. Strive to be an organization that somehow provides value to the end users.