According to a 2022 report by the World Health Organization, a billion people across the world are living with mental health conditions, most of whom do not have access to adequate support and resources for treatment. This figure has almost doubled in the past two decades, with COVID-19 significantly adding to these numbers. In India, as of 2017, there were 197.3 people with mental disorders, comprising 14.3% of the population.
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The gap in mental healthcare services is due to several factors, such as reluctance in seeking help, the high cost of therapy, and limited accessibility, along with the stigma attached to mental healthcare.
The mental health app Wysa was started with a mission to provide low-cost emotional wellness support. Wysa helps overcome stigma, increase access to mental health support and provide early intervention at scale. Its services provide early intervention to high-risk groups in three ways: free chat with an ‘emotionally intelligent’ AI chatbot, self-help using a library of over 150 evidence-based tools, and online sessions with a mental health professional.
Every Wysa app user has access to self-care options in the form of an unlimited chat with the AI chatbot, which is completely free. The AI bot guides users to a library of tools and exercises based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), meditation, breathing and mindfulness techniques. These interactive exercises can help users build mental resilience skills to manage distressing thoughts and emotions. Wysa’s conversational AI bot has been trained by leading mental healthcare professionals. The app has received an FDA Breakthrough Device designation, along with other clinical validation.
You can choose tools to reduce anxiety using mindfulness-based exercises, work on stress management through meditation and relaxation techniques, improve your sleep using sleep sounds and sleep stories, or reframe your negative thoughts and improve your self-esteem using CBT techniques. Users looking for extra support can also subscribe to a premium version to book one-on-one sessions with a therapist and get access to the entire library of tools. There are various subscription packs to suit the individual needs of users. A user can choose to begin with a weekly pack when they’re feeling overwhelmed or go for a longer monthly or quarterly pack to work on their ongoing mental health concerns.
However, if you notice yourself languishing, struggling due to stress, finding it hard to manage your difficult feelings or thoughts or if you just want to work on enhancing your sense of well-being, you can opt for online sessions with a therapist at Wysa through text-based or audio-video based formats.
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Here are some frequently asked questions about how online therapy works on the Wysa app.
Why should I choose online sessions with Wysa?
It can be difficult to locate and match with a therapist who is available when we are. It can be even harder to find one who works with the concern we’re experiencing or uses an approach which works for us. The Wysa team has expertise with both adolescents and adults. Therapists take an active, goal-oriented approach to help users overcome challenges in areas such as sleep, anxiety, depression, stress and relationships. They use a range of techniques including motivational interviewing, behavioural activation, and cognitive reframing and work with users on skill-building areas such as achieving goals, stress management, building self-esteem, improving communication, work-life balance, recovering from loss, increasing resilience, managing anxiety and improving sleep. Wysa therapists are available across a wide range of time zones and can be accessed anytime with your phone and an internet connection. The waiting time for sessions with a Wysa therapist is just a couple of hours, and we ensure that users can receive help when in distress on time.
Who are Wysa’s therapists?
Wysa has a culturally diverse team of trained and qualified therapists who use a person-centred approach and offer supportive listening to every user. They use motivational interviewing and other CBT techniques to help you take care of your mental health. Wysa’s therapists draw on various evidence-based approaches to enable you to get insights into your thoughts and behavioural patterns and overcome barriers to experiencing a sense of well-being and other personal or professional goals. They listen to your worries empathetically, promote positivity and support you in making successful lifestyle changes, so that you can manage your situation better. Users can connect to Wysa’s therapists for support via chat-based or audio-video sessions.
How does Wysa therapy help?
The process of therapy begins with outlining your goals for the sessions and reflecting on your concerns together with your therapist. A Wysa therapist can help you navigate through difficult feelings, stress, anxiety and other challenges. Our therapists focus on mental wellness, helping you build emotional resilience and equipping you with strategies to manage distress. Our underlying principle is that you have the knowledge and capacity to make the desired changes in your life. Wysa therapists assist you in finding your way and tapping into your strengths and abilities so that you can identify and use resources around you to fill any gaps. After every session, your therapist also provides you with a summary of your conversation and the work you did in the session. This can assist you in keeping track of your recovery journey and in reflecting on conversations whenever you experience stress.
Our therapy process includes synchronous live sessions with mental health professionals along with unlimited asynchronous messaging in-between sessions to ensure a continuous-care model. Users also get to practice the exercises and techniques discussed during their therapy sessions by using Wysa’s tools and exercises.
How do audio-video sessions work?
Wysa also offers audio-video-based therapy sessions in India. These sessions take place over a secure third-party interface. Each session is for 30-45 minutes and the interaction is similar to what you would expect from a face-to-face session. Users also get unlimited messaging support in between live sessions, with an assured response from their therapist within 24 hours. The Wysa app ensures complete confidentiality between you and your therapist during these sessions and nothing is recorded. Users can also choose to have an audio-only session with their therapist. Wysa’s emotional well-being professionals can converse in English, Hindi and other regional languages.
Will I feel connected to my therapist online?
Sometimes it can be hard to seek help and share parts of ourselves with a therapist for the first time. An anonymous mental health app such as Wysa allows us to choose what we want to share and how we want to share it. It often reduces feelings of being overwhelmed or intimidated, which some individuals may experience when starting therapy. Wysa therapists ensure a safe space for users and maintain confidentiality at all times. Wysa believes that your alliance with your therapist can have a significant impact on your therapeutic journey and our mental health professionals try to nurture that with empathy and understanding. Wysa’s therapists use a person-centred approach during sessions and work along with you in your journey, acting as facilitators for your recovery.
Can I talk to my therapist in between my sessions?
At Wysa, our therapists don’t limit their support only to sessions and believe that care should be continued throughout your journey with them. This means you can journal your thoughts, feelings and experiences on the Wysa app and share them with your therapist through messages in between your sessions. This asynchronous messaging support in between sessions allows users to share their thoughts in real-time and access therapist-recommended tools and exercises whenever they feel overwhelmed.
Is Wysa impactful?
The Wysa app is especially helpful for groups that are at high risk. It has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. People from more than 65 countries across the world use Wysa. The app’s current user base is 5 million, with more than 91% of Wysa users finding it helpful. Globally, over 500 million conversations have taken place on the app so far. In India, the Wysa app has served approximately 528,000 people as of October 2022, primarily through multinational employers and direct-to-consumer downloads.
Where is Wysa available?
Wysa is available in 65 countries across the globe, in which it provides support to users through the AI chatbot, as well as a team of Wysa emotional well-being professionals. Wysa is currently available in English and Spanish and is working on building support in Hindi as well. Wysa is widely used in India, the US, the UK, Singapore, UAE and South Africa.
Is Wysa private and safe?
Can I afford Wysa?
Wysa is one of the most affordable online support options in mental healthcare. While some exercises and the AI chatbot are completely free, users can choose to upgrade to a premium subscription if they require additional support. This includes access to Wysa’s complete library of tools and exercises, online sessions with a therapist and unlimited asynchronous messaging support in-between sessions.
I always look forward to my next sessions with my therapist. I got booked in sooner too which is nice I like it when its weekly or even more. My therapist gave me lots of great advice and some breathing exercises I can do to help me feel better too. I love having her as my therapist! She is the best! And knows me so well! Thank u so much! – Wysa User
Photo by Michael Burrows
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