Bell Canada launches new mental-health support programs

Bell Canada has launched two new support programs under its employee assistance program.

Its new peer support referral program connects staff and their family to support groups for a variety of mental health-related issues, and its online group counselling for anxiety program uses cognitive behavioural therapy. Both are available through its provider, Morneau Shepell.

The new programs, which began at the end of 2015, are in addition to a range of mental-health supports offered by the telecommunications company. The company’s efforts around the issue helped it earn the mental health award at Benefits Canada’s 2015 Workplace Benefits Awards. Nominations are now open for this year’s awards.

Read: Who are the winners of the 2015 Workplace Benefits Awards?

Theresa Caruana, senior consultant for workplace health at Bell Canada, says the recognition was an honour and encourages other organizations across the country to implement mental-health programs for their employees.

“Bell’s programs are helping foster a mentally healthy work environment, building awareness about the stigma of mental illness, and equipping leaders with the right tools and resources to support team members in conversations about mental health,” she says.

To date, more than 8,000 of Bell Canada’s leaders have completed training to recognize and respond to signs of mental illness in the workplace.

Video: A look at Bell’s mental-health programs

Other mental health programs and supports offered by the company include:

  • Certified mental-health leadership training accredited by Queen’s University;
  • A return-to-work program involving early intervention, tools and information for team members with support provided through a structured and customized return-to-work plan;
  • An Intranet site dedicated to mental health with experts providing advice; and
  • Three recurrent mental-health campaign periods each year (Bell Let’s Talk, Mental Health Week and Mental Illness Awareness Week).

Read: How Bell trains its managers in mental health

“During these periods, we hold numerous internal events across the country, using mixed formats to increase flexibility in schedule and interests, including events featuring keynote speakers, seminars, webinars, web chats and group workshops,” says Caruana.

Has your organization developed a creative and effective mental-health program to support and encourage the psychological health of employees? The 2016 Workplace Benefits Awards are now open for nominations.

Read: GE Canada enters third stage of mental health strategy