Corporate wellness solution, Ami, aims to destigmatise mental health in the workplace, through its highly adaptive and integrative platform. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week in 2022, Hive Life sits down with Ami’s COO, Jean Neo and Commercial Director, Hairin Bahren, diving into the important work that goes behind empowering mental wellbeing in the Asian workforce.
Widespread mental health stigma in Asia has built a barrier for many to access wellness support and resources. Pandemic-induced burnout at the workplace has obligated companies to reprioritise employee wellbeing to boost talent retention and workforce resilience.
Ami, a Singapore and Jakarta-based tech startup founded in 2022, emerged as Asia’s first bespoke coaching-oriented corporate mental wellness solution tailored to support the buoyant network of other fast-growing organisations with quickly evolving employee demographics. Born in the midst of the pandemic, the platform is devoted to destigmatising mental health and providing for the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the Asian workforce through its proactive coaching services.
The concept originated through the shared experiences of the Co-founders- Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia alum, Justin Kim, and ex-Amazon Software Engineer, Beknazar Abdikamalov- regarding mental wellbeing in a corporate setting. This inspired them to create a fulfilling platform, working together with companies to provide mental health support access to employees in their workplaces.
As Kim expressed in an interview with Forbes, “What we hope to do is to make the narrative around mental health a lot more proactive for individuals who want to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”
Their business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) model swiftly gained traction in the corporate world, simply via word of mouth, as Asia’s foremost accessible, affordable and integrative workplace wellness solution provider.
A recent study on Asia-Pacific workforces by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, reported up to 80% of respondents had suffered negatively from the Covid-19 pandemic, affecting their financial stability, mental health, and career motivation. Younger generations are growing increasingly aware of the importance of mental wellbeing, and are thus driven to holistic work environments. Anticipating this shift in work culture, companies are rushing to promote wellness, now more than ever.
Breaking barriers to facilitate mental wellness at the workplace, Ami partners with fast-growing companies in Pan-Asia. Personalised to the individual needs of each employee, the on-demand mental health space’s coaching solutions are proven to aid emotional support, mental wellbeing, and in the long run, workforce retention along with high levels of engagement. Their proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) data-driven technology together with a team of specialists, helps connect users to their ideal match with their in-house team of qualified coach-counsellors, from all around the world.
Adopted as a novel benefit plan offered by companies, employees can simply sign up on the Ami app, get paired with, and commence coaching with their expert advisors, all in less than a minute. The individualised one-to-one sessions are designed with user experience and accessibility in mind, allowing clients to connect with their coaches anytime, anywhere.
Placing an emphasis on coaching rather than counselling, Ami differentiates itself from other digital mental health platforms as it offers holistic and interactive experiences with its coaches, rather than therapising through a self-aid toolkit or the traditional couch therapy. It is said that healing begins through self-cultivation and taking a similar approach, the platform designed its coaching solution to empower everyday people and employees, to express themselves without any stigma and proactively communicate within their organisations.
To bridge the mental health gap, simply providing employees with access to support services is not enough. Ami’s platform has been positively received by many companies as well as their employees, as they push beyond traditional frameworks of corporate wellness. Enabling a safe space for employees to vocalise and resolve recurring distress, stigmatising beliefs, and other work-related conflicts facilitate conversations that will strike a common ground at the workplace. Ami’s bespoke coaching solutions motivate users to gain understanding and focus on establishing a work-life balance, which leads to increased productivity and performance levels.
The coaching platform has 10 times higher adoption rate than traditional therapy, at just a small fraction of the high costs associated with traditional mental health service providers. With unmatched user appeal, Ami addresses the demand for an easy, day-to-day, lightweight solution, allowing employees to thrive at their workplaces both emotionally and mentally.
For employers looking to integrate a more modern and human-first approach to holistic wellness in the workplace, they can start by contacting Ami directly to trial their coaching service. Professional counsellors are currently available in 5 languages, with English being used primarily. While the onboarding process is made simple, straightforward, and with access to their platform just a few clicks away.
Just 4 months into its beta launch, the space has accumulated significant responses and insights from the corporate market. Ami aims to create a measurable impact and grow its reach organically, by crafting a top-notch solution and building regenerative workplaces where employee mental and psychological wellbeing are valued and regarded as essential.
Ami recently secured US$3 million in a seed funding round, backed by Meta’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team. The investment by the tech giant marked its first early-stage startup funding in APAC, seeing the talent and potential of the emerging platform.
There is still considerable progress to be made with Asian workforces, where employees face high levels of stress in their day-to-day routine, experience a frail mental health paradigm, and lack access to supportive resources.
Ami’s COO Jean Neo commented, “Asia deserves its own homegrown solution. Ami is well-positioned here with our Pan-Asian roots and expertise, and we’ve had an incredible first start with great clients and partners. The sky’s the limit so we’ll work hard to continue to deepen our reach within Asia and beyond as well. It’s a fast-growing corporate market, with a new generation of employees that we have a heart for, and we know we can help.”
It is not uncommon to associate mental health as “just a phase.” While Asian communities still pin mental health issues as taboo, navigating the realm could still be a challenge. Ignited by this inflection point, Ami aims to demystify and destigmatise the space, with its one-for-all wellness solution best accustomed to corporate cultures in Asia, while achieving mental prosperity for the greater population.