EY Canada is adding online cognitive behavioural therapy to its benefits toolkit, at no cost to employees.

The new program, which was introduced at the beginning of May, is in addition to the company increasing its mental-health benefits to $5,000 per employee last December.

“It’s another tool in the quiver,” says Stephen Shea, managing partner of talent at EY Canada. When employees reach out because of a mental-health issue like mild depression or anxiety, they don’t necessarily want to move straight to drugs as a treatment option, he says. “Often that’s not the right thing.”

Read: EY Canada raises mental-health benefits to $5,000 for all staff

The digital cognitive behavioural therapy solution, which is offered through an external provider, is available through any mobile device or desktop computer. While Shea notes the company isn’t sure what the uptake will be, there’s a clear need for the CBT offering. “Even if you go into counselling and you get some psychiatric help or see a psychologist, you will inevitably need to continue therapy and be put into a CBT program. So that’s why we put this into our toolkit at no charge to our employees.”

To get started, employees who choose CBT complete a detailed personal assessment, which takes about 30 minutes, then a therapist will reach out right away. The therapist, whom the employee can message at any time, will prompt them through learning, with readings and activities about aspects of mental wellness that may not have been considered before.

Read: Assessing the impact of online therapy as digital health tools proliferate

The talent strategy at EY, notes Shea, is to allow and foster an environment where people feel like they belong and can reach their goals.

“When you look at wellness, and if you look at people being able to bring themselves to work in the best way possible, and you look at the way they interact with their peers and teams and all of that, being healthy, not just physically but mentally [as well], is critically important. And it has been something that we as a firm have focused on over the years.”

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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