Home Mental Health & Well-Being Learning from Singapore – How Technology Has Helped Transform Mental Health Care

Learning from Singapore – How Technology Has Helped Transform Mental Health Care

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If the UK wants to use technology, data, and population-level health interventions to deliver great care, just like in Singapore, as shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting recently suggested, they need to understand more about what the Singaporean government has been doing. 

mindline.sg was conceived at the height of the Covid pandemic in June 2020, when Singapore saw huge losses and disruptions to their livelihoods. The population’s state of mental wellbeing took a hit with growing feelings of anxiety and burnout as a result of prolonged economic uncertainties, unemployment, and social isolation.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) to introduce a digital solution that could help equip individuals with different stress management techniques and practical support resources to support the mental health and wellness needs of the general population.

With mindline.sg, MOHT seeks to achieve a person-centric mental health system that promotes wellbeing, destigmatizes help-seeking behaviour, and develops communities of care and support.

mindline.sg’s mental health web app uses clinically validated self-assessment tests (PHQ-9 and GAD-7) that allow users to gain a better understanding of their current levels of anxiety or depression before offering them recommendations on the next possible steps of action (for example, calling a helpline or doing a mindfulness breathing exercise to calm the nerves).

In order to better provide psychosocial support to its users, mindline partnered with Wysa in October 2020, integrating Wysa’s chatbot into its online portal and providing all the app’s features to its users. Being highly emotionally intelligent, Wysa provides a fully-anonymised safe space for mindline users to discuss their feelings with the chatbot, and access its full range of premium self-help tool packs. 

All individuals also have free access to a national paid subscription to Wysa. To supplement the growing need for professional counselling and therapy services in Singapore, Wysa serves as a 24/7 accessible pocket therapist that removes any mental barriers to seeking help for your emotional well-being. Wysa understands user conversations and recommends specific interesting self-care exercises, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) exercises, targeted at the user’s trouble points.

Developing tools for mental health and promoting their easy access and use is a step forward in destigmatising mental health, and providing each and every person with the means to be safe and well. The UK is facing increasing health pressures – physical and mental – and increasing the availability of self-care tools that destigmatise the issue and help manage wellbeing will be essential. The clinical research and best-in-class privacy behind Wysa make it an ideal tool in the NHS’s suite of treatment options, allowing for evidence-based treatment to be delivered in a tailored and individual way that is also scalable. 

MOHT have seen such success with Wysa – both in uptake and impact – that the partnership has continued and Wysa is available to individuals at a population level, regardless of need or presentation of mental ill health.

“We’re delighted to see Wysa’s AI-guided support integrated into Singapore’s mental health services, so it can act as a ‘digital front door’ to provide help even at 4am,” added Ramakant Vempati, co-founder of Wysa. “This has been flexibly integrated with existing services so users can either get self-care or escalate to the right service while maintaining clinical assurance and privacy. Collaborating with mindline.sg is a big step forward in our mission of enabling access to mental health at  scale,” he concluded.

Wysa is a global leader in AI-driven mental health support. We believe access to support should be available whenever people need it. Stigma prevails, so we take away the need for people to ask for help and eliminate the need for people to make a judgement call on when they should seek professional support. Proven to improve depression and anxiety scores by an average of 31%, Wysa’s AI-first approach enables employees to improve their mental health before symptoms become severe by understanding an individual’s needs and guiding them through interactive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) exercises. Wysa’s clinically safe AI encourages users to take additional support, whenever it’s needed, by guiding them towards Wysa’s human coaching, employer benefits programmes (EAP) or national crisis lines. Wysa has helped over 6 million people through 550 million AI conversations across 95 countries. 

MOHT is an innovation office established by MOH in 2018 to lead, facilitate and accelerate system-level changes needed to transform healthcare delivery, and empower health and the self-management of disease. We collaborate with partners to implement strategic initiatives, develop key enablers for scaling, and work with MOH to mainstream these as nationally scaled programmes that contribute to the reshaping of Singapore’s health system. Our vision is a transformed health system that is patient-centric, data-driven and digitally enabled to better empower health, prevent disease and provide excellent value-based care.

Sarah Baldry, VP of People at Wysa.

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