On Monday night, ULTRA NYC teamed up with 24helps, a mental health and wellness platform, for an in-person activation and workshop at Soho House in NYC. The workshop focused on confidence building and included about 15 participants from all walks of life. We caught up with co-founder Nikhil Dhanani to talk about the event and about how 24helps is changing the wellness game, for New Yorkers and people across the world.
ULTRA x 24helps event recap
24helps events are always set in an intimate room with about 10-15 participants with an open table discussion layout. Aside from a life coach moderator, everyone else in the room are random strangers from all demographics. A requirement is that everyone has to talk.
For the ULTRA x 24helps event, the theme was self-confidence. The first few questions that people had to answer in front of the entire room were, “What’s your name? What’s one passion that you have? And what does that passion say about you?” The random strangers didn’t even know they had to talk and participate, which gets rid of the feeling of being uncomfortable going into the event. There are also no photos taken in order to create a safe environment with minimal pressure.
“Come, get out of your comfort zone, meet new people and you never know who you might meet,” is the approach says Nikhil. He continues with, “As the event went on, everyone started participating more and everyone wanted to talk. People started talking to each other and a lot of it was networking and being social. Everyone was bonding over self development which was really cool. It’s sort of like AA, but for self-confidence.”
Some of the participants for this event included a woman who was a professional chef, a man who’s an architect that designs highrises in Midtown, and a lady that was a well-pronounced hairdresser. The whole event lasted for about 90 minutes but instilled a fresh confidence for all of its participants.
Nikhil and his partner Mishka Khotylev started 24helps right as New York City went into lockdown on March 18, 2020. Coming from a event planning background, Nikhil says he was losing his mind because of the pandemic and not being able to see people. They started Zoom virtual events (like so many of us) with friends, twice a week. The 5 or 6 people included life coaches and therapists, and it quickly grew organically with people inviting more people each time.
“We quickly built a community around mental health with everyone just wanting to better themselves,” Nikhil explains. He continues, “I’m a born and raised New Yorker, my partner is too, the reason why we started this is because we couldn’t find anything for us. We wanted helped, we had anxiety and there just wasn’t anything we could relate to. Everything out there was just very LA. What I mean by LA is that there’s no voice we can relate to. It’s all like ‘Everything is going to be fine’ and ‘Work on yourself and better yourself and it will all be ok’ but no. This is not the way we learn. We’re New Yorkers. Everything is sh*tty and it will continue to be sh*tty. There’s a rough grit to it but that’s fine and we have our own process. So that’s the approach we bring to 24helps and to mental health.”
The most important thing is this: “The one f*cking goal is to spark conversations and make it relatable. We like to call it the ‘human experience’ because our demographics of our audience are all over the place — every walk of life, every age. And that’s because this is something all humans deal with. Everyone deals with mental health. We are the gateway to self development for people.”
About their newsletter
24helps pivoted away from Zooms in June 2020 into a newsletter once things started to re-open. The newsletter is now a full-time one centered around mental health and personal development with three series: The Confidence Column, The Night Before and PSA’s/Ask a Therapist.
The Confidence Column
Covers as you can guess, all things confidence related.
The Night Before
A “personal account from entrepreneurs and thought leaders who relive theirs thoughts from the night before a major life event happened,” Nikhil says. He continues, “The whole point is to make these people that others look up to human. We all deal with anxiety and we all deal with the sh*t.”
Angry observations and complaints about things happening on the street that Nikhil sees and hears.
Ask a Therapist
A certified therapist that works for the company responds to a question in an article or column from viewer submitted questions.
Nikhil finished by saying that readers around the world can relate and have even given comments like, “I like the fact that you guys curse in your content. I like the fact that you guys are just sh*t talking in this email. Keep it real.”
How to join
If the above sounds like an amazing approach to mental health for you, you can sign up for the 24helps newsletter on 24helps.com. All the event info will be released through their newsletter.
Here’s more resources for mental health.
Photo via 24helps