RBC Insurance has signed an agreement with Best Doctors Canada to include a mental-health support and advocacy program in its group disability insurance.

The program, Onward, has been rolled out over the past year as a pilot project with a Canadian employer, which saw a 40 per cent reduction in claim duration driven by reduced wait times and changes to both the diagnosis and the treatments plans for employees who participated.

According to RBC Insurance, almost 30 per cent of all of its group disability claims are related to mental health. “Given the statistics, almost every single Canadian has been either directly or indirectly impacted by mental illness,” said John Carinci, vice-president, group and business markets at RBC Insurance. “This has taken a huge toll on individuals, families and the overall economy. We fundamentally believe that the Onward program is a pivotal step forward in positively changing the lives of those who struggle with their mental health daily.”

Read: Starbucks Canada increases mental-health benefits to $5,000

The program aims to help employees with depression, anxiety and other mental-health concerns to get healthier, productive and return to work sooner. It includes 12 therapy sessions that can be conducted digitally, eliminating the stress and cost of traveling to an appointment. In addition, the program provides diagnosis and treatment recommendations from a psychiatrist to the employee’s physician while assigning an advocate to guide them throughout the entire process.

“Mental health is an often forgotten and overlooked element of health care, yet research continues to demonstrate the incredible role it plays for the well-being of an individual, a family, an employer, the economy and our society at large,” said Peter McClennen, chief executive officer at Best Doctors.

“[This program] ensures that each group and individual client has access to the leading physicians and programs that combat key mental-health issues.”

Read: Treating mental health could boost Canadian economy by $48B a year

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

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