While almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of British Columbians said they’re covered by either a group or personal health benefits plan, just 18 per cent said they’ve accessed mental-health benefits, according to a new survey by Pacific Blue Cross.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 adults in B.C., found that, among respondents with an employer-provided benefits plan, more than half (54 per cent) said they aren’t totally sure if their plan provides access to mental-health services.

Read: Employers should back up mental-health talk with benefits, HR policies: experts

“It is important that employers and human resources specialists continue to provide employees with adequate education on benefits plans and communicate with clarity and on a regular basis,” said Brooke Moss, associate vice-president of work and wellness at Pacific Blue Cross, in a press release.

The survey also found mental-health prescription drugs made up 16 per cent of total benefits utilization. A quarter (24 per cent) of plan members aged 55 and older made claims in this category, while just 13 per cent of those younger than age 55 did so. The overall utilization for mental-health paramedical services was five per cent and 92 per cent of these claimants were younger than age 55.

“This data suggests that older people are more likely to seek mental-health care through their doctor and prescription medication, while younger people are more often accessing counselling services,” said Maria Watson, counselling manager at the Canadian Mental Health Association, in the release.

Read: B.C. paramedics seeking enhanced mental-health benefits