As Mental Health Awareness Week starts today, new research from AI mental health app Wysa, is reporting that one in three employees is experiencing moderate to severe levels of anxiety.

These figures are twice the reported level. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that one in six of us are suffering with mental health issues, an increase from the one in 10 prior to the Covid pandemic.

Wysa has also revealed that more than half of those who are experiencing anxiety symptoms have not spoken to a healthcare professional about the problem. In 40% of cases this was down to suffers not feeling the problem was serious enough, while a further 29% stated they were too embarrassed to seek help.

When asked by Wysa, employees were overwhelmingly in favour of digital solutions to help support their mental wellbeing. It found that 81% would choose to speak to an app over their HR teams, while 53% favoured an app over a therapist, and 43% would prefer a digital solution instead of consulting a GP.

Wysa managing director Ross O’Brien said: The scale of anxiety in our population is far greater than previously realised, and clearly new solutions are needed. We need better education, to break down stigma, and solutions that work for people whenever they need it, wherever they are.”

With the current mental health crisis, the integration of AI into the mental health ecosystem is leading to transformative developments.

Wysa’s offering can be accessed on a virtual or mobile platform helping to address the essential issue of inclusivity and equity in access. In addition, adding artificial intelligence as the first step in the care continuum is helping to bridge the shortage of qualified professionals and remove barriers to access related to stigma, cost and availability.

A previous report from Wysa found that teenagers are increasingly turning to social media for mental health support, highlighting a need for digital solutions to address the problem.

Mental Health Awareness Week is Monday May 15 until Sunday May 21 this year and has the theme of anxiety.