For more than 16 years, Benefits Canada has recognized the importance of workplace mental health by hosting the annual Mental Health Summit, the industry’s most popular and well-known conference in this space.
Designed for our audience of employers and the advisors that consult with them, this two-day virtual event on Nov. 16-17 covered key areas, including links to disease impacts, treatment options, disability management and much more.
Find out what you missed!
Medaca Health Group
Working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic day in and day out, health-care workers experienced significant mental-health challenges over the past two and a half years — and while the most acute phases of the pandemic may have passed, the sector is preparing for the psychological fallout.
Medavie Blue Cross
While traditional therapy benefits and virtual-care options are now table stakes in benefits plans, there’s more employers can do to equip employees with the resources to manage their mental-health challenges and build resilience, said Rebecca Smith, director of group life and disability services at Medavie Blue Cross.
Green Shield Canada
Canada has done a good job at reducing the stigma around discussing and seeking help for mental-health challenges, but two-thirds of Canadians who are struggling still don’t seek help.
A pilot project between Sun Life Canada and CloudMD found employees who had access to a mental-health coach and targeted interventions at the early stage of a mental-health challenge saw significant reductions in their symptoms over time, as well as lower short-term disability durations for those who took leave.
Shoppers Drug Mart
Nutrition is a major factor in gut and digestive health, which impacts brain and mental health and overall well-being, said Heather Barnes, a registered dietitian at Shoppers Drug Mart.
When Bell Canada launched its Bell Let’s Talk initiative in 2010, the telecommunications company announced a plan to spend $155 million on fighting stigma, improving access to care and funding research for mental health — but it also knew it had to lead by example.
Recently, Canada’s Workplace Mental Health and Well-being Research Centre surveyed 141 employers, analyzing the practices they put in place during the coronavirus pandemic to see whether they’re still applicable to employees.
Treatment for mental health isn’t effectively covered by public health systems, which means care for chronic disease management and mental health — by and large — falls into the lap of employers and employees, according to Adam Kelly, CloudMD’s executive vice-president and chief commercial officer.
Psychiatric Adult Services
Allowing and encouraging employees to seek proper treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will boost health and morale, as well as save money in the workplace, since providing accommodations for ADHD is an inexpensive way to boost overall workforce productivity, said Beata Komierowski, outpatient psychiatrist at Psychiatric Adult Services.
This session was made possible by Takeda Canada.
Since an organization’s most valuable asset is its people, the coronavirus pandemic made it clear that having healthy, happy employees on the job isn’t just valuable, it’s essential to profitability, said Valerie Fernandez, organizational health senior advisor at Beneva.
The unmet medical needs across Canada are substantial, with the number of Canadians using cannabis for medical needs — close to 15 per cent of individuals over age 16 — one of the best barometers, said Dr. Steven Grover, professor of medicine at McGill University.