Great-West Life, Morneau Shepell partner for online cognitive behavioural therapy

The Great-West Life Assurance Co. has partnered with Morneau Shepell Ltd. to offer web-based cognitive behavioural therapy to plan members receiving disability benefits for a mental-health condition.

The program became available on June 4 to employers in Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax, St. John’s and those cities’ surrounding areas, with plans expand the offering to the rest of the country as the service proves its effectiveness.

Read: Work-focused CBT can help depressed employees remain on the job

Plan members can access the therapy through a portal on their personal computer, laptop or smartphone and receive guidance from a therapist who tailors an individual program for them, according to Great-West Life. The service also adds a module for plan members preparing to return to work to help them manage anxiety and learn coping strategies. The company noted crisis counselling is available 24 hours a day, with in-person assistance offered as determined by the therapist.

“CBT is proven to be one of the most effective therapeutic methods in treating a number of mental-health conditions, but many people face challenges in gaining access to psychiatrists, psychologists or therapists,” said Diane Bezdikian, senior vice-president of plan member services at Great-West Life, in a news release. “With iCBT, eligible Great-West Life plan members who are diagnosed with depression or anxiety will have quick access to therapy in English or French, from anywhere, at any time, without having to travel to and from a therapist’s office.”

Read: Green Shield Canada, Morneau Shepell introducing online cognitive behavioural therapy

Roger Maguet, Great-West Life’s senior vice-president of plan sponsor services, said the company is happy be the first insurer to make Morneau Shepell’s cognitive behavioural therapy program part of its disability management services.

“With customers at the centre of what we do, we are tackling the issues that impact workplace productivity, absenteeism and rising disability costs through smart solutions like iCBT that encourage healthy living, minimize the risk of disability and facilitate successful return to work,” said Maguet.