The company focuses on people who need help but don’t have diagnosable conditions
In the truest sense of the word, everyone needs help with their mental health. The question is, what kind of care do they need? At one end of the spectrum are those with diagnosable clinical conditions that can be treated with medication. At the other end are people who are simply stressed out and just need a little help to get back on track.
What about the people in the middle, those who need more help than just yoga but have conditions that aren’t severe enough to need medication? These people are what Jo Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of AI-powered mental health startup Wysa, which on Thursday announced a $ 5.5 million Series A funding round, calls “the missing center of mental health.”
“Wysa came out of my own depression. I had founder depression after my first elderly care product failed. Then when I tried to resolve my own depression, I learned a lot about mental health,” she said me .
“What I realized was that a lot of people are not entirely clinically depressed, so they don’t want to be medicated or diagnosed for their condition, but at the same time they are much worse off than being told to do mindfulness or yoga. “
Indeed, Wysa’s internal data shows that the majority (60%) of the population falls into this void: These are people who are struggling with things like negative thoughts, anxiety, isolation, or insomnia. They want to work on improving their situation on their own instead of seeking clinical support.
Wysa’s solution is to use a mix of humans and AI. Patients are connected to an AI-based “emotionally intelligent” connection that helps them through a combination of evidence-based cognitive behavioral techniques (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), meditation, breathing, yoga, motivational interviews and micro-actions. They also get access to a human coach or therapist to help them achieve their goals.
“One of the greatest things Wysa therapists do is give you a safe space to talk. I wanted to combine being led to evidence-based techniques while having a completely private space to talk,” said Aggarwal.
Founded in Bangalore in 2015 and based in Bangalore, Wysa offers patients 24/7 access to care. they can open up Wysa in just a few messages and complete CBT, DBT, acceptance and Engagement Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness and Coaching Exercise in just five to ten minutes.
While there are many other companies offering virtual mental health solutions, including Ginger, Talkspace, and AmWell, what makes Wysa stand out is that users can chat anonymously. In fact, the company recommends that users choose a dummy name or nickname in their conversations with Wysa or a Wysa coach or therapist.
“One of the things that is very important to us is creating this safe space and people, especially in an employment situation but everywhere on the internet, don’t think they are safe when someone knows who they are.” Aggarwal declared.
“In a therapeutic setting you’re sure of it, but in a healthcare setting where someone talks about everything they feel, it’s very important to safety not only to keep that data safe, but also to preserve it Data is completely unidentifiable. Nobody’s actual personal safety is endangered or cannot be linked to them. So that’s important. “
One of the big changes for Wysa in the last year has been the transition from a B2C company to a B2B company and the increasing collaboration with customers of the employer who offer it to their employees. Both B2B and B2C businesses have grown 5 to 6 times sales over the past year, while B2B users have grown 3 times. The Wysa platform is currently used by 20 corporate partners around the world, including Accenture and Aetna International. Accenture rolled out Wysa to 500,000 employees in 53 countries last year.
Wysa has enabled over 100 million calls to more than 3 million users and has covered over 10 million lives in over 65 countries worldwide.
Regarding the ROI, etc.90% of users say that Wysa helps them feel better after just one session, and over 75% of users have more than five sessions. For its employer clients, there are two types of ROI the company looks at, Aggarwal said, one of them the increase in engagement, which is harder to measure, and the decrease in absenteeism, which is easy to calculate.
“When we intervene with someone who has a secondary behavioral problem, such as chronic pain or a short-term disability, you can see how quickly they get back to work, as opposed to someone who does not receive intervention. So if you have work hours in terms of short-term or long-term disabilities, this is a clearer ROI, “she explained.
Wysa’s new round of funding led by W Health Ventures. The Google Assistant Investment Program and existing investors pi Ventures and Kae Capital also participated, increasing the company’s total funding to around $ 10 million. The company is playing too Use the new funds to support the expansion of activities in the USA. This means that the team of 60 will be expanded. In addition, the funding will also be used to expand the platform to new languages, including Spanish.
Wysa comes along as the conversation about mental health changes. Part of that is how the discussion is designed religious idiom to social idiom and now medical idiom.
“People tend to medicate their distress. People were far more willing to share their real mental health distress, names that are sometimes correct but mostly undiagnosed. Then they were definitely more open because they were too normalized. ” That is why they are now more open to talks, “said Aggarwal.
The other thing that has Especially after the pandemic, more people are willing to admit they have a problem.
“Up until the pandemic, I always heard how one in four people had depression or anxiety and had some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. And now there is none in four; there is one of one. Everyone realizes they are something for them need mental health, “she said.
“The conversation is moving outside of the medical state and beyond meditation. These are people who know they need something to help them, but they are not medically ill. They are not clinically diagnosed and they need something in order to.” help.”
Ultimately, Wysa’s mission is to build people’s confidence in their ability to help their own mental health.
“When people are not yet in therapy and need it, we want them to have the confidence that they can access it. If they have been in therapy, we want to give them the confidence that they can do it themselves. ” to make it an ongoing cause in which they are empowered to take care of themselves. And to do this for as many people as possible. “
(Image source: blogs.wysa.io)