With some Canadians still reluctant to talk about mental-health issues, should employers include internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy as a way to facilitate access to psychological services? 

For employees already nervous about admitting their mental-health challenges in a workplace setting, accessing cognitive behavioural therapy online could provide a degree of anonymity that would help them make the jump to trying the service, says Dr. David Gratzer, an attending psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. 

At the same time, the technology could address practical concerns of having to go to a therapist’s office during normal work hours, according to Gratzer. “ICBT really empowers the patient to find care at his schedule and at his convenience,” he says.

As a result, the approach is becoming more popular among employers, he says. “Especially large employers, whose employees might work the night shift or who are working in small centres, I think ICBT could be something of a game-changer.”

Read: Assessing the impact of online therapy as digital health tools proliferate

The issue of online services is on the agenda for Canada’s benefits industry. In June, Sun Life Financial launched a program with the University of Regina through which clients with an approved disability claim with mild to moderate anxiety or depression would have the choice of virtual therapy. And earlier this month, the university announced a partnership with the Co-operators Group Ltd. to launch a year-long study on the benefits and challenges of online cognitive behavioural therapy and the level of interest among employees.

Plan sponsors understand that access to treatment and therapies is increasingly important, says Dean Howard, president and chief executive officer of benefits consulting firm CBA Canada. “If done properly, [ICBT] can provide a means to help employees learn new skills and coping mechanisms in a comfortable and efficient manner.”

As the conversation continues, what are your thoughts on internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy? Should employers include it as an option in their benefits plans or should they continue to focus on more traditional in-person services? Have your say in this week’s online poll.

Read: Helping employees transition into the stress of fall

Last week’s poll asked whether employers should accommodate dogs and other pets in the workplace. There was an almost even split among respondents, with 51 per cent saying accommodating pets involves too many complications, especially if workers have allergies or phobias. The remaining 49 per cent felt pets can brighten the atmosphere as long as proper rules are in place.

 

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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Lavi Maxim:

Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy – great addition to benefit plans!!!!

Wednesday, September 20 at 11:45 am | Reply

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