Staff in CAMHS services at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) and St Andrew’s Healthcare (STAH) have been using Wysa’s AI mental health app to support their wellbeing and mental health.  

The project, in collaboration with NHSEI Midlands, NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, saw Wysa provided to 350 staff members at the hospitals.

It aims to assess the impact of digital wellbeing support for staff in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) wards after this was identified as one of five core areas in children and young person provisions where additional support may improve outcomes for staff and young people. 

The Autumn 2022 NHS Staff Survey reported that a third (34%) of NHS staff are experiencing burnout. According to research from the worker-led network Organise, 8 in 10 (79%) are thinking about leaving the NHS all together.

Back in 2021 92% of trusts told NHS Providers they had concerns about staff wellbeing, stress and burnout following the pandemic. 

A customised version of Wysa’s anonymous wellbeing platform was developed for the organisations with local helplines and signposting. The trial lasted 12 weeks and staff will continue to have free access to the app for 12 months.

Staff questionnaires, in app data and post app use focus groups were used to gather information regarding staff’s experience, attitude towards a digital delivery of support and overall views on workforce wellbeing. 

Anxiety, confidence, sleep and motivation were the biggest stressors of staff and when talking to Wysa staff were most likely to express feeling upset, sad, anxious, and exhausted. Users completed an average of 5.4 sessions on the app and utilised mood monitoring, mindfulness, sleep and thought logs. 

One member of staff said: “I’ve been able to use the different packs and found the mindfulness one particularly useful as job is highly stressful at the moment and nice to use as a way to switch off.” 

Like many employers, the NHS are looking at ways to support their people. The trusts are committed to supporting young people and staff, as only with happy and healthy team members can they can do the great work they set out to.

Digital and technology is an important part of the innovation of healthcare, and something we expect to see more of in the future. 

Katie Bedford, business support officer at NHFT, said: “Our staff appreciated this opportunity to trial the free digital wellbeing app and to share their feedback – the sleep support pack was popular and well recommended by our staff.” 

This feasibility trial has shown that there is a demand for a varied response to workforce wellbeing and an AI digital resource is an important addition to that approach.

Wysa, which was announced as one of the 17 new Fellows to join the NHS Innovation Accelerator this year, is fully scalable and replicable, enabling trusts with already stretched resources to provide both specialist support and wellbeing tools in a way that can reach as many people as possible.