Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Canadian employees said taking care of their mental health is more of a priority, up from 68 per cent in 2023, according to a new survey by American Express Canada.

The survey, which polled more than 700 workers, found a majority (87 per cent) of generation Z employees said they’re prioritizing their mental health this year. However, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) said there has been no change to their employer’s mental-health offerings and fewer than a fifth (17 per cent) said these offerings were increased.

Read: Amex Canada supporting employee well-being with onsite counselling, enhanced mental-health resources

While 63 per cent said their employer doesn’t offer free onsite counselling services, more than half (54 per cent) said they’d make use of this service if it was available, a percentage that increases to 73 per cent among gen-Zers.

Respondents cited out-of-pocket expenses (37 per cent) as the biggest obstacle preventing them from attending counselling, closely followed by time commitment (32 per cent), the process of finding a counsellor (22 per cent) and stigma (16 per cent).

Amex Canada introduced its own free onsite counselling program last May and recently expanded the program to two days per week following overwhelmingly positive feedback from employees, said Annette Kingsley, the company’s vice-president of colleague experience, in an emailed statement to Benefits Canada.

“We’re constantly evaluating the level of mental-health supports we provide to colleagues and it was clear that we needed to expand the availability of the onsite counsellor. . . . We know from our ongoing research that there are far too many barriers in place for employees seeking out mental-health care and as an employer with a vested interest in our colleagues’ well-being, we are committed to doing whatever is in our power to break down those hurdles for them.”

Read: Employers can support workers’ mental health with digital toolkits, adequate coverage: expert