Health insurer Aetna International announced that it is partnering with Wysa, an AI-powered chatbot and mental well-being app as part of the former’s ongoing efforts to address the 'second curve' of the COVID-19 pandemic – a less visible but increasing mental well-being crisis.
The health insurance company recently enhanced member access to a range of resources, including its virtual health offering, vHealth, and its Employee Assistance Programme, which provides support from professional clinical counsellors over the phone or face-to-face.
The Wysa app will complement these existing services, by giving members instant access to guided mental well-being support, which can help people to self-manage feelings of anxiety, financial stress, isolation and more. According the Wysa’s official website, all chats are anonymous and the chatbot uses evidence-based cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT). It also engages users in meditation, breathing yoga and aims to help people build resilience skills.
Through Wysa, all Aetna International members and their employees will have free access to 24/7 text-based support designed to help them navigate a range of mental well-being challenges at their own pace, including anxiety, stress, motivation and confidence.
THE LARGER TREND
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the safeguarding of physical health is essential as can be seen from various social distancing measures and different forms of government imposed ‘lockdowns’ around the world. However, another issue is that of mental health which is not as obvious, particularly for those who may not cope well with long periods of social isolation due to lockdowns, employment disruptions and the general panic ensuing with the rapidly changing pandemic situation.
Mental health apps can be very useful during this trying period in helping people to cope with the mental stresses caused by the global pandemic situation. Some examples include the Intellect app, which provides a new form of digital therapy without any human intervention. The personalized app transforms conventional face-to-face therapy into bite-sized modern self-therapy sessions at the user’s own convenience.
In Singapore, Healthcare Academy partnered with MindFi to offer healthcare workers free access to MindFi's popular mindfulness mobile app, Mindcare for a one-year period, MobiHealthNews reported.
ON THE RECORD
“At Aetna International we have long believed that mental well-being should be treated as seriously as physical health, which is why we are committed to improving access to mental well-being support for our members and employees globally. By accelerating our relationship with Wysa, we are providing early mental well-being support at scale and, through this, hope to alleviate some of the pressure people are feeling during this incredibly challenging time,” said Richard di Benedetto, President, Aetna International.