IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
Mesh Ai debuts Simpatico Teams, an AI-powered Australian first
Thu, 14th Dec 2023

Australian startup Mesh Ai has launched the first AI-enabled workplace mental health solution, Simpatico Teams, compatible with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, including Copilot for Microsoft 365.

The product, an evolution of Mesh Ai's mental health application Simpatico Ai, uses AI capabilities to identify and monitor psychological risks across teams, aiding organisations in meeting their legislated requirements to manage these risks. Impacting one in five people in Australia, mental health conditions can result in billions lost in workplace productivity annually.

Simpatico Teams was developed by Mesh Ai in collaboration with Dr Simon Kinsella, a Melbourne-based clinical and organisational therapist with over thirty years of experience. This collaborative effort aimed to help address the current state of mental health in Australia, particularly within the workplace. The solution also includes a suite of personalised and anonymous digital tools offering employees further support in this area.

This announcement follows updates to the Australian Work Health and Safety Act in 2022, which made organisations' active management of psychosocial risks a requirement. Consequently, expenses linked to employee wellbeing programs are expected to rise, a consequence of companies continuing to invest in employee assistance programs. However, the current solutions are failing to provide the necessary impact, with existing programs being used by only 6% of the employee base.

Dr Kinsella, Mesh Ai's Chief Science Officer, said, "I have directly observed the evolution of employee wellness programs over the past three decades and it is encouraging to see mental health initiatives being given more priority in businesses of all sizes. However, the post-COVID mental health fallout combined with the increasing severity of legal consequences for non-compliance means employers need to leverage technology-driven solutions to help them be more effective at serving diverse stakeholders."

Mesh Ai CEO, Alistair Wardlaw, revealed how Simpatico Teams aims to assist workplaces in combatting mental health challenges via a technologically sound, scientifically validated framework. He said, "We've built Simpatico Teams with the advanced capabilities of our Conversational AI suite. This ensures the platform's consistency and effectiveness when addressing mental health challenges, even for large corporations with a distributed workforce."

The new platform features an AI-driven conversation format promoting engagement and a better sense of psychological connection. It acknowledges individual mental health issues and classifies potential symptoms and specific conditions using a scientific framework.

Organisations will benefit from anonymised dashboards offering actionable insights into the mental health of their workforce. The objective is to ensure healthy workplaces through the incorporation of innovative tech solutions.

Because of its potential significant impact, the development of Simpatico Teams was expedited by Microsoft. Dr Simon Kos, Chief Medical Officer, Microsoft Australia and New Zealand, voiced his approval: "We are proud to have supported the Mesh Ai team to bring this important product to market. Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 users can now benefit from cutting-edge mental health tools in the workplace."