Depression, addiction, anxiety among top 10 mental health disorders covered by employers: Survey

Prescription, non-prescription drugs addiction, substance abuse also in top 5

Depression, addiction, anxiety among top 10 mental health disorders covered by employers: Survey
Prescription and non-prescription drug addiction and substance abuse are among the top 10 mental health disorders covered by Canadian employers, according to a survey. REUTERS/George Frey




Over two-thirds (67 per cent) of Canadian organizations are noticing an uptick in mental illness and substance abuse compared to two years ago, according to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). 


Forty-one per cent say employees are very or extremely stressed, and 48 per cent say stress levels are significantly or somewhat higher now compared with two years ago.


Almost all of the respondents offer benefits to help with these conditions, said Julie Stich, associate vice-president of content at the IFEBP in Brookfield, Wisc.


“Many organizations have analyzed claims data, introduced alternative pain management treatments and started using prescription drug monitoring programs. Employers recognize the severe impact of these conditions on both worker well-being and cost to their businesses — and are doing something about it.”


The most prevalent mental health/substance abuse conditions that employers report in their workplace are depression, anxiety disorders and alcohol addiction, found the survey of 278 employers in the United States and Canada. Other common conditions include sleep disorders, nonprescription drug addiction, prescription drug addiction and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD).


“Moving forward, organizations should be sensitive to potential barriers to offering mental health and substance abuse benefits,” said Stich. “Many workers fear that admitting a problem may negatively impact their job security, and some have concerns about confidentiality. Certain workers may not even know they have a problem or aren’t ready to address it. It’s important for employers to communicate the availability of benefits and other resources available to help. Through this communication and by providing coverage, employers are making the right moves in creating a psychologically safe workplace.”  


The majority of employers provide health coverage for these prevalent mental health/substance abuse conditions. The top 10 conditions covered in Canada are:

  1. depression (77 per cent)
  2. alcohol addiction (76 per cent)
  3. anxiety disorders (74 per cent)
  4. prescription drug addiction/substance abuse (69 per cent)
  5. non-prescription drug addiction/substance abuse (63 per cent)
  6. bipolar disorder (59 per cent)
  7. gambling addictions (55 per cent)
  8. post-traumatic stress disorder (52 per cent)
  9. eating disorders (52 per cent)
  10. ADHD/ADD (49 per cent) 


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