Almost all employers offer paramedical benefits for psychology and many are adopting programs to support employee mental health, according to a new survey by Aon.
Canadian employers are increasingly realizing the individual and business risks that arise from mental-health issues. “While fewer than half of the employers we talked to identified mental health as a serious business risk now, a much larger proportion foresee it developing into one over the next five years,” said Kim Siddall, vice-president of health solutions at Aon, in a news release. “They are already taking steps to address that developing risk.”
For instance, many plan sponsors are now isolating their psychology benefit maximums from other paramedical ceilings and are covering a broader range of practitioners, including family therapists, social workers and clinical counsellors, she said. “All this points to a growing realization among employers that they will have to do more to support workplace mental health in the future.”
Three-quarters (73 per cent) of employers surveyed said they currently provide psychology maximums on a stand-alone basis, as opposed to lumped in under the maximum for other paramedical benefits.
The survey found the most common paramedical psychology maximum offered is between $500 and $1,000. However, this is higher among financial services and technology firms, with typical maximums falling within a range of $1,000 to $5,000.
According to the survey, the top five non-benefits-related supports for workplace mental health are employee assistance programs, physical health promotion, personal finance or debt counselling, addiction counselling and self-help sessions on topics like stress or time management.