Wysa brings psychological well being assist to small, mid-sized employers by way of new partnership

Mental health app Wysa can now be offered as a benefit for small to mid-sized employers through its new partnership with PlanSource, a benefits administration company.

Wysa — founded in 2015 and located in Boston, London and Bengaluru, India — offers AI-driven mental health support through its free app. Its chatbot provides cognitive behavioral health therapy and asks users open-ended questions about how they’re feeling. Based on people’s responses, the chatbot guides them through different therapeutic techniques. If someone needs to speak with a therapist, they can set up a virtual session.

PlanSource, based in Orlando, Florida, allows employers to outsource their benefits program to the company. PlanSource guides employees through the process of shopping for benefits, helps with enrollment, assists in billing and provides several other resources. It has more than 5,000 employer clients, including the American Museum of Natural History, Indeed and Krispy Kreme.

Through the new partnership, which was announced Friday, Wysa is now a benefit option for PlanSource’s network of employers. It is a referral-based partnership, meaning when companies go to PlanSource for mental health benefits, Wysa can be presented as a choice. It especially helps Wysa reach smaller employers who employ at least 250 people, said Ramakant Vempati, cofounder and president of Wysa.

“Historically, Wysa was available as a benefit to employees through large insurers, or directly to multinational companies as a proactive mental health measure to improve wellbeing of staff,” Vempati wrote in an email. “Now, through this partnership, it will be possible for smaller teams to also offer Wysa as part of their employee benefits package and help make positive mental health and resilience an integral part of company culture.”

Digital behavioral health support has increasingly become a popular benefit for employers, especially as Covid-19 highlighted mental health needs. A recent survey of large employers by Business Group on Health showed that 85% of respondents will expand mental health benefits and coverage in the future. But for small employers, providing mental health support isn’t as easy, Vempati claimed.

“Mental health benefits have become a key attractor for new hires and an important retention tool in today’s turbulent job market,” Vempati said. “However, [small and medium sized businesses] typically have lesser resources to put towards additional benefits like mental health support tools. Our aim is to finally help level the playing field and ensure access across companies of all sizes.”

It’s been a big year for Wysa, which announced in July that it raised $20 million in series B funding from HealthQuad and British International Investment. In May, its app also received Breakthrough Device Designation by the Food and Drug Administration for patients 18 years and older with a diagnosis of chronic musculoskeletal pain, depression and anxiety.

The mental health company’s main competitors include employee mental health benefit services like Spring Health, mental health apps like Talkspace and AI-powered chatbots like Woebot, Vempati previously said. But the founder claimed Wysa differentiates itself by offering support 24/7.

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images

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