Mental health claims in Canada soar by 70 percent: report

Claims by women for mental health practitioners, LTD easily surpass those of men

Mental health claims in Canada soar by 70 percent: report

Canadians appear to be more actively seeking mental health supports, according to a recent report.

Between 2019 and 2022, the number of members making mental health practitioner claims grew by almost 70 per cent, reports Sun Life.

Women's mental health practitioner claims grew more than 37 per cent compared to men's claims.

The volume of claims for mental health practitioners also grew 20% in 2023, and has more than doubled since 2019. Mental health practitioner claims for those between the ages of 30-39 saw the largest increase in both growth and claim volume.

"Over the last few years, the conversation around mental health has been front and centre. While there is still work to do to break the stigma, the data shows encouraging trends. Canadians are more open to talking about their mental health – they're reaching out to professionals and seeking the help they need," says Valerie Legendre, clinical psychologist and director, mental health at Sun Life.

"Managing mental health issues can be complex. Accessing support early is critical. Early intervention can help lead to quicker recoveries and positive long-term outcomes."

Personal wellbeing is top of mind for most Canadian workers, and as a result, they are looking for more supports from their employers, according to a previous Robert Walters report.

What helps in improving the mental health of employees?

Mental health is the leading cause of disability, making up 40 per cent of long-term disability claims for women versus 30 per cent for men, according to Sun Life’s report based on trends on paramedical and drug claims from over three million Canadians.

Meanwhile, depression drugs are now the highest volume claiming category for those under the age of 60, increasing 40 per cent since 2019. That number has doubled for those under the age of 30.

Employers have a role to play in ensuring workers’ wellbeing, said Marie-Chantal Côté, senior vice-president for group benefits, Sun Life.

"Empowering employees to take charge of their mental health is critical. Workplaces have an important role to play, not only when it comes to offering mental health resources, but in creating safe and inclusive work environments," she said. "We hear firsthand from employers the positive impact access to mental health support has on their workplace, and most importantly on their employees."

Here are some tips to helps employers improve workers’ mental health and morale, according to Mental Health First Aid:

  1. Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their challenges and needs.
  2. Establish a wellness committee or resource group.
  3. Review your company’s mental health resources.
  4. Bring mental health experts into the workplace.
  5. Empower your employees to support one another in times of stress..
  6. Be a vocal and visible leader who makes the health and wellbeing of all employees a priority.
  7. Provide management training to all supervisors so they can balance emotional support with work demands.
  8. Conduct annual reviews of your company’s progress related to mental health and wellbeing.
  9. Train your team in mental health first aid at work.

Many Canadians believe their employer is not equipped to support workers’ psychological health and safety at work, according to a previous report.

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