MHIB Global Inc. has introduced a new online mental-health training program for small- and medium-sized companies.

Small businesses “sometimes feel a little overwhelmed,” says Julie Holden, executive vice-president of the company. “There’s a lot of information out there, which is good. . . . But it can be a bit daunting in terms of where to start, and there can also be some barriers such as cost and resources. So we wanted to provide them with a solution to that, to remove those barriers and provide them with a program that’s self-contained . . . and they don’t have to search for different programs from different sources.”

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The Mental Health in a Box kit includes a survey to measure employees’ base knowledge about mental illness, an online training program about mental health, a risk assessment tool and access to a virtual medical clinic.

“You can talk about best practices, disability management, return to work, but if you can’t see a psychiatrist or a psychologist for six months, the early intervention doesn’t mean much,” says Joseph Ricciuti, co-founder and board chair of MHIB Global. “The more time an employee’s off, the less chance they have at returning to functionality.”

The kit also includes a virtual consultation with a mental-health professional, who may be located anywhere in the country. Ricciuti notes this will help Canadians living in rural or remote regions, those in regions with a shortage of psychiatrists or psychologists, and those without a family doctor who could refer them to a specialist. The program covers the assessment fee, and follow-up sessions are paid through the employee’s extended health benefits.

Read: 2017 Group Benefits Providers Report: Insurers playing a role amid rising emphasis on mental health

Ricciuti also points out employers will receive certificates of completion when all their employees complete the training. “I think that will help mitigate any legal costs that they may face in the event . . . that somebody may deem that the workplace is toxic and complains about it to the courts,” he says.

Holden and Ricciuti are also founders and human resources consultants at SEB Benefits & HR Consulting Inc.

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

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