Wysa, a popular mental health app originally founded in India around an AI chatbot that helps users talk through their feelings, has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round to expand its business on the heels of hitting 4.5 million users in 65 countries.
The all-equity round is led by India’s digital health-focused venture capital fund HealthQuad, with participation also from British International Investment (BII), the U.K.’s development finance institution. The plan will be to use the money to double down on its home market as well as the U.S. and U.K, where it already has respectively had approvals from the FDA and the National Health Service (NHS) and is used by the latter as part of its online mental health services. [Read more…] about Artificial Intelligence (AI) meets Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Wysa raises $20M to scale up mental health chatbot
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring timely brain & mental health news and a fun brain teaser to put your temporal lobes to good use 🙂
“Here, we estimated the impact of different types of screen time (watching, socializing, or gaming) on children’s intelligence while controlling for the confounding effects of genetic differences in cognition and socioeconomic status … Broadly, our results are in line with research on the malleability of cognitive abilities from environmental factors, such as cognitive training and the Flynn effect.”
Fascinating! Having said that…
“Social interaction is hugely important. One study found that the size of our social group is actually associated with the volume of the orbitofrontal cortex (involved in social cognition and emotion). But how many friends do we need? … It is hard to argue with the fact that humans are social animals and gain enjoyment from connecting with others, whatever age we are. But, as we are increasingly uncovering, it also crucial for the health of our cognition.”
“Some people do very well in training, such as playing a video game, but they don’t show near transfer, perhaps because they are using highly specific strategies,” said first author Anja Pahor … “For these people, far transfer is unlikely. By better understanding why this type of memory training or ‘intervention’ works for some people but not others, we can move forward with a new generation of working-memory training games or use approaches that are more tailored to individuals’ needs”
“In our ongoing large-scale study (note: the one right above) we aim to recruit 30,000 adults who are motivated and willing to help us better understand the factors that underlie learning outcomes using a variety of training paradigms and outcome measures. Our endeavor will ultimately contribute to the personalization of cognitive training so that, hopefully, anyone who would like to improve their cognitive functioning will be able to choose the approach that may fit them best.” — researchers Susanne Jaeggi, Anja Pahor, Aaron Seitz @ UC Irvine/ Riverside
Esports are borrowing a page from Pro Sports’ book … we wouldn’t be surprised to see the inverse taking place too in just a few years.
“For those without severe mental illness, app-based therapy may be helpful in matching clients with a professional familiar with a range of problems and stressors. This makes apps attractive to those with anxiety and mild to moderate depression. They also appeal to people who wouldn’t ordinarily seek out office-based therapy, but who want help with life issues such as marital problems and work-related stress.”
#8. And here’s the Brain Teaser: Ready to stimulate those neurons in your temporal lobes?
Wishing you and yours a healthy and fun summer!
AI Behavior Health Chatbot App Fast-Tracked by FDA (Psychology Today):
Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted breakthrough device designation to Wysa’s AI-based digital mental health conversational agent that delivers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) via a smartphone to adults suffering from depression, anxiety, and chronic musculoskeletal pain [Read more…] about AI-enabled chatbot Wysa receives FDA Breakthrough Device designation for patients with chronic pain, depression and anxiety
“Wysa, the leading global AI-powered mental health platform, today, during Mental Health Awareness Month, announced a $5.5M Series A financing round led by W Health Ventures, a Boston-based digital health investor. Others participating in the round include the Google Assistant Investment program, and existing investors pi Ventures and Kae Capital. Wysa will use this capital to support its offering to employers who want to expand their mental health benefits, as well as scale up Wysa’s sales team and therapist network. [Read more…] about Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot Wysa raises $5.5M to broaden access to mental health support
Mental Health Apps Aren’t All As Private As You May Think (Consumer Reports):
Type “mental health” or a condition such as anxiety or depression into an app store search bar, and you can end up scrolling through endless screens of options. As a recent Consumer Reports investigation has found, these apps take widely varied approaches to helping people handle psychological challenges—and they are just as varied in how they handle the privacy of their users. [Read more…] about Consumer Reports finds unclear, questionable privacy practices and policies among popular mental health apps