Brothers Audrey Maximillian Herli and Audy Christopher Herli co-founded Riliv in 2015 to help improve mental health services in Indonesia. The application allows people struggling with mental health issues to talk to licensed mental health professionals online. Riliv also provides other digital therapies that are designed for people seeking wellness and peace of mind.
So far, Riliv has attracted more than 300,000 users and over 100,000 people have used its online counselling service. Maxi, who studied information systems at the University of Airlangga in Surabaya, Indonesia, and his brother made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020 List. In 2017, Riliv was named the best sustainable start-up by a national newspaper and won in the Google Business Group Stories Search.
“Before we started Riliv, I saw many people struggling with their personal problems. They expressed their feelings and their stories about their lives on social media, but no one could really help them address their issues. This reflects a bitter truth, especially when we learned from data released by WHO that around the world, one person dies every second from suicide because of depression caused by their personal problems.
“This became our starting point to build Riliv because we want to become a bridge that connects people with licensed psychologists to receive professional counseling. Through the app, users can talk about their stories with our psychologists privately and securely, without fear of being judged by others. Riliv is collaborating with the Indonesian Psychology Association (HIMPSI), and we are so lucky because HIMPSI has been incredibly supportive and open-minded in promoting online counselling. Hence, it’s easier to find licensed psychologists to be our partners.
“We did some research to assess what kind of facilities people need the most to help improve their mental health, and I believe the services that we have now can help address the issues in the society. The Riliv application has three services. For users who want to meditate, we have a meditation feature with an online audio guide to help people relax their minds and bodies, and more people are using this feature now. The online counselling feature is our most popular service. Users can find the best psychologists to talk about their mental health issues by accessing the app. We also have Riliv for Company service that is designed to assist organisations seeking to improve the quality of life and mental health of their employees.
“Our biggest challenge is to spread awareness on mental health, to promote the importance of looking after our mental health. Even until now, many people are still reluctant to get professional help from psychologists because they’re afraid of being judged, of being labelled ‘crazy,’ lack of faith, or other bad labels attached to mental health. We want to wipe out this social stigma and change the mindset that it’s really okay to see psychologists, and they will not become less of a human if they go to psychologists.
“There are many ways to eliminate the stigma, and technology definitely plays a great part in it. Thanks to technology, we can also be here to help raise awareness on mental health. Apart from the application, we post content on our social media to educate people on mental health. We have over 280,000 followers on Instagram, and the number keeps increasing. With this, we hope more people can be more aware of mental health issues. Collaborating with government and non-governmental organisations, private companies, and other parties is also important to improve awareness.
“The pandemic also brings many new challenges to many people. During the pandemic, especially from March to May 2020, we recorded an increased number of people registering for our services. I think they saw Riliv as a breath of fresh air that could help them address their problems during difficult times. And at that time, it was difficult for people to go outside so they found it easier to do online counselling. The issues were mostly “The pandemic also brings many new challenges to many people. During the pandemic, especially from March to May 2020, we recorded an increased number of people registering for our services. I think they saw Riliv as a breath of fresh air that could help them address their problems during difficult times. And at that time, it was difficult for people to go outside so they found it easier to do online counselling. The issues were mostly related to the pandemic, such as their careers, relationships, making peace with an unpleasant situation, and moving forward.
“Six years on, we’re glad to see that Riliv has been able to help so many people address their personal problems. According to our data, many of our users had their first interaction with a psychologist through Riliv. This shows that Riliv has become a platform for those who need to see psychologists but are reluctant to do so because of the stigma that still comes with mental health. Our goal is to continue working to help more people struggling with mental health issues in Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia, while at the same time eliminating the social stigma attached to it, with our digital solutions.”
Interviewed by Novia D. Rulistia. This conversation has been translated, edited, and condensed for clarity. The views and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the interviewee and do not reflect the official policy or position of ASEAN.