Manulife is providing more mental-health support to employees by increasing its annual coverage of mental-health services to $10,000 per person.
Previously, employees could claim up to $1,000 each year on professional services provided by licensed practitioners, including mental-health services. Under its redesigned plan, Manulife has separated the coverage for mental-health practitioners and allocated the new amount of $10,000, which includes services for family members.
“We wanted to support our employees by helping take away the worry of the financial impact of seeking mental-health support,” says Stephani Kingsmill, executive vice-president of human resources at Manulife. She notes the enhanced benefit covers a broad range of practitioners, including clinical counsellors, family and marriage therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists and social workers.
The company’s decision followed a comprehensive review of its benefits program, which showed employees wanted more mental-health support. According to Manulife, mental-health claims represent 35 per cent of its short-term disability claims and 44 per cent of its long-term disability claims.
Differentiating the mental-health benefit from other professional health services is an important part of the offering, says Kingsmill. “It helps alleviate some of the stigma associated with mental illness by pulling it out and showing employees that this is something that the company wants to support them through.”
Kingsmill says the improvement of mental health in the workplace benefits both employers and employees. In addition to its benefits plan, Manulife offers an employee assistance program and runs an annual campaign to raise awareness around mental illness.
She says being proactive can reduce the negative impact of mental health in the workplace. “We as a company are going to be more productive if our employees are engaged and able to fully contribute in the office.”