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Morneau Shepell Ltd. and fitness app Lift are partnering to add artificial intelligence-based fitness programs and live coaches to Morneau Shepell’s LifeWorks well-being platform.

Through the platform, plan members will be able to access virtual fitness programs built for their personal goals using AI. They will also be able to receive live virtual coaching and can join live group or one-on-one online training sessions. 

“LIFT’s virtual fitness can help people maintain good physical health even when their normal routines are disrupted, as we are currently seeing worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Neil King, president of LifeWorks and executive vice-president at Morneau Shepell, in a press release.

Read: How workplace fitness can improve employee productivity

The consultancy also released its monthly mental-health index report, which found Canadians in the Prairies have seen the largest declines in their mental health and well-being since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the index, the largest mental-health declines against the benchmark of 75 were in Alberta (-14.3), Manitoba (-13.5) and Saskatchewan (-12.9). The Maritimes (-12.4), Quebec (-12.2), British Columbia (-11) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-10.9) also saw notable declines, while Ontario had the smallest drop at -10.7.

Looking at individual households, women were more likely to say their mental health had been negatively affected due to the pandemic, with a decline of 14.6 points, in comparison to an 8.8-point decline for men. People between the ages of 20 and 29, individuals who lost their jobs in the past six months and people who make less than $30,000 per year also reported substantial mental-health impacts from the virus.

Read: 81% of Canadians say coronavirus is negatively affecting their mental health: survey

It also found Canadians’ mental stress level score increased to 74.7 against a benchmark of 50. Regionally, Newfoundland and Labrador’s mental-stress score increased to 82.1, followed by Alberta (77.5), Manitoba (77.4), the Maritimes (76.6), Saskatchewan (75.3), British Columbia (74.7), Ontario (75.5) and Quebec (72.1).

“As Canada nears its peak in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, we are facing a pivotal moment in addressing the anxieties that individuals are facing as a result of the virus’ impact on their daily lives,” said Paula Allen, senior vice-president of research, analytics and innovation at Morneau Shepell, in a press release.

“Now is the time to intervene with support programs, such as the internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy offering that the Government of Manitoba launched for its residents. This type of support can prevent these mental-health concerns from becoming a full-blown crisis.”

Read: How to support employees’ mental health during coronavirus

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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