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AI-Led Mental Health Support (Wysa) for Health Care Workers During COVID-19: Service Evaluation.

BACKGROUND: The impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on health care workers' mental health, in particular, cannot be ignored. Not only did the pandemic exacerbate mental health challenges through elevated stress, anxiety, risk of infection, and social isolation, but regulations to minimize infection additionally hindered the conduct of traditional in-person mental health care.

OBJECTIVE: This study explores the feasibility of using Wysa, an artificial intelligence-led mental health app, among health care workers.

METHODS: A national tertiary health care cluster in Singapore piloted the use of Wysa among its own health care workers to support the management of their mental well-being during the pandemic (July 2020-June 2022). The adoption of this digital mental health intervention circumvented the limitations of in-person contact and enabled large-scale access to evidence-based care. Rates and patterns of user engagement were evaluated.

RESULTS: Overall, the opportunity to use Wysa was well-received. Out of the 527 staff who were onboarded in the app, 80.1% (422/527) completed a minimum of 2 sessions. On average, users completed 10.9 sessions over 3.80 weeks. The interventions most used were for sleep and anxiety, with a strong repeat-use rate. In this sample, 46.2% (73/158) of health care workers reported symptoms of anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 [GAD-7]), and 15.2% (24/158) were likely to have symptoms of depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-2 [PHQ-2]).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the present findings, Wysa appears to strongly engage those with none to moderate symptoms of anxiety. This evaluation demonstrates the viability of implementing Wysa as a standard practice among this sample of health care workers, which may support the use of similar digital interventions across other communities.

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