In my last blog, I discussed the staggering increase of depression which is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is the major contributor to disease risks. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 4% of the world’s population has depression, and the USA is at the top of the risk zone. In addition since Covid-19 depression statistics have increased by nearly 25%.
Mental health issues as we know impacts productivity in the workplace, but also has a devastating impact on individuals, families, and society. Despite mental health spending reaching $225 billion in 2021, the statistics of closing this gap speak otherwise.
All of this simply says, mental health must be one of the top five governance issues that board directors and C-levels must improve upon and sustain.
How can AI help?
Many of the market investments in mental health apps focused on depression or cognitive support “mindfulness” software solutions are in the business to consumer space, but as this market continues to mature, 2023 will do doubt bring forward many new innovations.
Calm is an app for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation and offers strong diagnostic insights on how ones sleeping patterns are impacting their productivity offering a health pulse. Calm has rich content to guide users to information to support their needs. Calm uses AI fields such as Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing to build on its functionalities.
Headspace is a focused meditation app, offering spoken-word exercises designed for around 10-minute sessions per day. Each session begins with a “check-in” routine. It allows the user to settle in and prepare for meditation. The user also becomes aware of various physical sensations surrounding them. Such as their body weight and the sensation of their chair or clothes touching their skin after taking some deep breaths. Headspace’s machine learning approaches incorporate features that update throughout the day and even during sessions attended by each user. These features mostly direct to: on-going session bounce rates for sleep content, semantic embeddings for user search terms. Meaning, if a user searches for ‘Preparing for exam’, the model will assign focus-themed meditations and Biometric data such as step count and pulse of individual users help the model provide personalized exercise content.
MoodFit is a solution that offers a number of services from mood journals to self-awareness, gratitude journals and rich content on breathing support and mindfulness support. MoodFit’s AI enablements do not appear to be as strong as other market players but their rich content is very robust.
MoodInsights is a B2B mid to large enterprise SaaS platform that provides insights on mood and provides users with a voice to improve work conditions in the workplace, and has advanced NLP methods to focus on productivity improvements that board directors and leaders can impact, and is less reliant on content that is so often readily available by benefit providers and counselling expert services. Rather data aggregation of best content already available in large enterprises is aggregated for more integrated communication in the MoodInsights Knowledge Portal. MoodInsights also provides rich analytics on mood across all geographies in real time.
Woebot is a chatbot and offers self-help guidance and companionship to users suffering from depression. Woebot uses cognitive – behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people change their unhelpful thinking habits and help to guide them to improved moods and making better decisions. WoeBot also uses natural language processing (NLP) by analyzing any natural discourse that is shared in the chat to form an emotional profile of the user to help it know how to interact with the user better. The data collected then is streamlined to offer more personalized information, and support related to your concerns.
Wysa is also an AI chat bot to help manage your emotions. Wysa also includes meditation practices, and motivational interviewing into chats. Wysa also analyzes users data from its chats to improve the accuracy of predicting a user’s mental health needs and goals.
Youper is another chat or “emotional health assistant,” that provides personalized feedback based on what it learns from daily text-based conversations with users. A user would describe how he /she is feeling , if feeling depressed or anxious specific tips are proposed.
The health and wellness industry is said to increase further over the next four years. A growth of $1299.84 billion is expected between last year and 2024, at a CAGR of 6.37 percent during the forecast period.
As 2023 unfolds, board directors should ensure they have their CEOs report on the mental health and wellness of their employees and be increasing their budgets beyond current practices.
Organizations can no longer wait for employee feedback in annual or twice a year surveys, or interim pulse checks, mental health enablements need to be 7×24.
Having predictive insights not only how your employees are feeling today but being able to identify risk zones and build management interventions on a weekly basis is key for mobilizing actionable insights.
Too many of the market solutions provide tools for individuals support which are helpful if an individual has the incentive to improve their own sense of well being as this is in their control.
However, board directors and CEOs have an opportunity to recognize the critical impact that bad management has on their people and tackling this head on will go a long ways to reduce stress and anxiety of your people and improve mental health and well being in organizations.
AI toolkits should be on the drawing board in 2023 as it is very clear that all organizations need to be bolder to steam the rising tide of accelerating mental health and wellness trends.