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The Wysa mental health app can now be offered as a benefit to small and medium-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 feel. Based on people’s responses, the chatbot guides them through various therapeutic techniques. If someone needs to talk to a therapist, they can set up a virtual session.

PlanSource, based in Orlando, Florida, allows employers to outsource their company benefits program. PlanSource guides employees through the benefits shopping process, assists with enrollment, assists with 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 that was announced Friday, Wysa is now a benefits option for PlanSource’s network of employers. It’s a referral-based partnership, meaning that when companies approach PlanSource for mental health benefits, Wysa can be presented as a choice. This especially helps Wysa reach smaller employers that employ at least 250 people, said Ramakant Vempathy, co-founder and president of Wysa.

“Historically, Wysa has been available as an employee benefit through large insurers or directly to multinational companies as a proactive mental health measure to improve staff well-being,” 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 the company culture.”

Digital behavioral health support is increasingly becoming a popular perk for employers, especially since Covid-19 has highlighted mental health needs. Recently research of large employers by the 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 is not so easy, says Vempati.

“Mental health benefits have become a key attraction factor and an important retention tool in today’s turbulent job market,” Vempati said. “However, [small and medium sized businesses] typically have fewer resources to direct to additional benefits such as mental health support tools. Our goal is to finally help level the playing field and provide access to 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 from the Food and Drug Administration for patients 18 and older diagnosed with chronic musculoskeletal pain, depression and anxiety.

The company’s primary mental health competitors include employee mental health services such as Spring healthmental health applications such as Space for conversations and AI-powered chatbots like Poor, Vempati said earlier. But the founder says Wysa sets itself apart by offering 24/7 support.

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images

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