Green Shield Canada is launching a new mindfulness training program that will be available for free to all of its plan members.

The program, which will be available on the insurer’s Change4Life platform, will include six sessions of mindfulness training available to plan members online and through their personal devices. Plan members who complete the mindfulness program will receive points through the Change4Life portal.

“Evidence suggests that rates of self-reported stress and anxiety continue to rise in our population,” said Peter Gove, health innovation leader at Green Shield Canada.

Read: Why you should hire a mindfulness coach

“Mindfulness training has been shown in a number of studies to help people better manage stress, anxiety, as well as chronic pain and depression. Many large corporations are developing sophisticated mindfulness programs and making them available to all staff. We believe that by making a high-quality mindfulness training program available to an even wider audience, we can make a significant contribution to both the mental and physical health of Canadians.”

In announcing the program, the insurer noted its concern about the trend towards relying on antidepressants as the predominant first-line therapy for mental-health issues. “The reliance on antidepressants as a first-line therapy is not serving patients well, and in turn wasting valuable dollars in the system on ineffective treatment,” said David Willows, chief innovation and marketing officer at Green Shield Canada.

“If our health benefits plans are to remain sustainable in a time of rising health-care costs, we must all look for the evidence-based, preventative solutions that will make people mentally healthier in the first place.”

Read: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton wins health and wellness award

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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