Up to 40% reduction in depression symptoms after using Wysa
London, UK, 23rd May 2023: Leading UK health insurer Vitality today shares results of a successful pilot that looked to improve the mental health of Vitality members with conversational AI care through the Wysa app. After using Wysa, the members demonstrated a clinically significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. Vitality plans to increase access and utilisation in the wider Vitality member population for both prevention and early intervention in mental health.
Vitality began its relationship with Wysa by identifying 60,000 members who had been screened as likely to need support for their mental health. The members were offered access to Wysa Premium for a year to improve their mental wellbeing. At on-boarding, each user’s anxiety and depression scores were measured through standardised clinical questionnaires; GAD-7 for generalised anxiety disorder and PHQ-9 for depression.
Improvements in the mental health assessment scores after 28 days were statistically and clinically significant across all the different cohorts. Before and after screening on GAD-7 showed a 31% reduction in moderate anxiety symptoms (average scores of 14.5 reduced to 10) and a 38% reduction for severe anxiety (average scores of 17.4 reduced to 12.5). PHQ-9 screening questionnaires for depression showed a 40% reduction in symptoms for those suffering moderate depression (average scores of 16.6 reduced to 10.2) and a 35% reduction for those indicating severe depression (average scores of 19.1 reduced to 12.5). The app proved popular with users; 83% of Vitality members participating in the pilot said they found Wysa helpful, while 88% came back repeatedly to use the app.
“The impact of digital self-help for members we identified as moderate or high need is significant. The results demonstrate the potential as a preventive tool as well as providing on-demand support for those who need it. We look forward to continuing to work with Wysa to extend access to more Vitality members,” said Dr Katie Tryon, Director of Health Strategy, Vitality.
Wysa uses Natural Language Processing to understand the user’s free text inputs with the Wysa AI chatbot. Unlike generative AI, every Wysa response is written by a qualified psychologist and tested for clinical safety. An automated self-care pathway is generated by Wysa based on the triage scores and AI conversation. The AI chat bot then guides the user through Wysa’s library of evidence-based mental wellbeing exercises. Wysa also sends notifications at agreed check-in times and recommends specific exercises based on the needs of the user, such as sleep stories in the evening. Weekly reports and personal progress tracking affirm the efforts of the user.
Vitality is investigating the potential benefits in offering Wysa as an early intervention solution to more Vitality members. The study has shown that by accessing Wysa, Vitality members could see significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Wysa Founder, Ramakant Vempati, said: “We are delighted with the results of the Vitality pilot. The improvements in scores are extremely positive and show that Wysa helps at clinically significant levels for those suffering moderate to severe symptoms. This is further evidence that Wysa genuinely helps people on a large scale. We believe that prevention and self-help is key to preventing symptoms from worsening, so we are very much in support of Vitality’s plans to offer Wysa to all members, regardless of need.”
Vitality is part of Discovery Limited, a worldwide insurer and investment manager impacting more than 30 million members in over 40 markets worldwide, across Europe, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Canada and China.
Vitality pioneered the ‘shared-value’ insurance model, a unique approach based on the scientifically proven principles of behavioural economics. Through this model, Vitality helps members take a more active role in managing their own wellness, encouraging them to develop healthy long-term habits that are good for them, good for the company and good for society. The effect is positive for all stakeholders – members benefit from better health, financial rewards and additional incentives; employers benefit from healthier, more productive, and more engaged employees; and Vitality benefits from a healthier membership base.
Vitality Ambassadors, including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Heather Knight, Tracey Neville, Ellie Simmonds, Jos Buttler, Maro Itoje, Joe Root and Jonny Wilkinson, are role models who embody the company’s values. They use their passion for living a healthy, active lifestyle to motivate others to make positive changes, promoting the message that taking small steps today can dramatically improve wellbeing over the long-term. In the UK, Vitality operates as three distinct businesses: VitalityHealth, VitalityLife and VitalityCar, employing more than 2000 people in London, Bournemouth and Stockport.
Wysa is a global leader in AI-driven mental health support, available both to individuals and through employer benefits programs. Wysa helps in dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety with the help of an “emotionally intelligent” bot, which uses evidence-based cognitive-behavioural techniques (CBT), meditation, breathing and mindfulness exercises, as well as micro-actions to help users build mental resilience skills. Wysa has facilitated over 550 million conversations in 65 countries across the globe. Wysa works with 20 enterprise partners to support 7 million employees worldwide, with partners that include the Ministry of Health in Singapore, Aetna International and L’Oreal.