Wysa, an artificial intelligence digital platform for mental health, is co-investing Rs 4 crore with ACT Grants to develop a Hindi language mental health app. It will also be accessible through WhatsApp as the company seeks to make its services more accessible in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Wysa, whose backers include Google Assistant Investments, HealthQuad and British International Investment (BII), is also engaging with other investors to develop the app, which is expected to go live in January 2023.
Wysa raised $20 million in July this year.
Ramakant Vempati, cofounder, Wysa, told ET that apart from societal stigma and the dearth of mental health professionals in India, limited language options hinder accessibility to such services.
“Most mental health services are being provided at the tertiary level or in large metros, where you have access to therapists who have been trained in English and who also deliver services in English. Hence your ability to access that support also becomes predicated on or filtered by language,” Vempati said.
Improving access by introducing more languages and using distribution platforms such as WhatsApp could play an important role in changing this, he said.
“In our ambition to help 50 million users by 2025, we must go beyond the barriers of literacy and language to create access to mental health support for all. We’ve shown that therapy through Wysa appeals to those who are unwilling to come forward to talk about their mental health problems. We have a long way to go in overcoming mental health stigma in India, but this Hindi version of our universally popular app, delivered through Whatsapp, is a great place to start,” Jo Aggarwal, CEO and cofounder of Wysa, said in a statement.
A team of five people is working on developing the app, which will be executed in two phases, from development to scaling. Wysa is not looking to monetise this offering, Vempati said.
Wysa offers mental health support through its free AI chatbot, apart from self-help resources on the app and paid access to therapists. It has facilitated over 400 million conversations in 65 countries across the globe and works with 20 enterprise partners and seven million employees worldwide, including Accenture Global, Aetna International, L’Oreal, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the UK’s National Health Service, and the Ministry of Health in Singapore.
Source: Economic Times