A third (32 per cent) of Canadian employees say cost/affordability is the top barrier to getting mental-health support, according to the latest mental-health index by Telus Health.

The survey, which polled 3,000 respondents, found lack of available care/long wait times (16 per cent) and not knowing where to get care or what type of care is best for them (12 per cent each) were also top reasons for not accessing mental-health support.

After the index’s mental-health score of Canadian workers reached its peak in July (65.2), it declined more than half a point in August 2023 to 64.6. Indeed, the mental-health scores of respondents who reported cost/affordability as a barrier to getting mental-health support was more than 23 points lower than those who reported no barriers or no need for support.

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In addition, 40 per cent of respondents said they’re unfamiliar with the purpose of an employee assistance program and what it offers. Among those who said they wouldn’t or don’t think they’d use an EAP, 34 per cent don’t know what it covers, 23 per cent were concerned about confidentiality and 21 per cent don’t know how to access the service. And although employees can use EAPs for free, 27 per cent of respondents cited cost as a major barrier to using this offering.

Notably, the 35 per cent of respondents who said they’re familiar with an EAP and what it covers had the highest mental-health score (66.3), which was also nearly two points higher than the national average. By contrast, the mental-health score for those unfamiliar with the offering was 63.5.

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