With mental health at the forefront today more than ever, sponsors are looking for ways to support employees, to create a psychologically safe and healthy environment in which to work. Indeed, the statistics tell the story – approximately 500,000 Canadians miss work each week, reports the Mental Health Commission of Canada, as a result of a psychological health issue.

But there are ways to tackle this. With a mental health strategy, sponsors can support employees and look to reduce the negative impacts of poor mental wellness on their business (e.g., increased costs due to absenteeism, presenteeism, lower productivity).

Manulife has a robust suite of mental wellness products and mental health services available to help sponsors define a strategy and approach. These tools and resources span the entire wellness continuum, from prevention through intervention, including aids to support managers, who are key to successful strategy deployment across an organization.

Managers, specifically, have a pivotal role to play in the mental wellness of their employees. Managers are in a unique position to identify when an employee might be struggling. By offering resources at the right time – and encouraging employees to seek them out – a manager can play a key role in the prevention of mental health challenges and concerns in the workplace.

The return on investment for workplace mental health programs went from $1.60 to $2.18 when companies had programs in place for 3 years or more.1

Products and services

Manulife EFAP - The right support at the right time to help manage mental wellbeing 

We offer a full-service EFAP in Canada to help businesses and employees thrive. Our EFAP program is delivered by our exclusive service partner, Homewood HealthTM.

The EFAP program may be accessed 24/7 by employees and eligible family members who are in need of mental health services and support. The short-term counselling service provides assistance in the event of incidents that include, but are not limited to; stress, psychological disorders, bereavement, lifestyle problems, marital/family problems, alcohol/drug problems, anger management, financial and legal problems, retirement planning, physical/sexual abuse, a traumatic incident and more.

The EFAP program offers a full range of confidential and professional counselling, self-development and health management services for wherever members live, work and travel across Canada.

Why Healthcare Online?

Studies indicate that 68% of Canadians have skipped a doctor’s appointment or avoided seeing their doctor altogether2. This may be due to long wait times or the inability to book appointments outside of working hours. As a result, many may delay getting help, or get no treatment at all, for their mental health concerns. And whenmembers are unwell, they are less likely to bring their best to work.

Healthcare Online is delivered via the TELUS Health Virtual Care App. Offering 24/7 on-demand access to primary healthcare practitioners via secure text, video and chat. The app is available across Canada with services in English and French.

Supporting member mental health

Mental health is one of the top reasons members use the app3. Healthcare Online offers first line mental health counselling and medical assistance through their nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are supported by in-house psychiatric consults when managing complex cases. They also help members take the next step in their mental health recovery. This includes making referrals to specialists and recommendations for other support tools, which may be covered by their benefits.

Personalized Medicine is about learning how genetics can affect a person’s response to medication. Personalized Medicine is offered as an add-on to EHC benefits for members and their covered family members.

It involves a pharmacogenetic test. This is a type of test that identifies how you may respond to medications. The results are only seen by the member, the Canadian company that runs the test (Personalized Prescribing Inc.), and anyone the member gives consent to share their results with - such as their doctor.

To do the test, the member submits a small saliva sample. A pharmacist from Personalized Prescribing Inc. will look at the genetics in the sample and create a report for the member and their doctor, if they consented to share their results with them.

This report shows which drugs are more likely to help and which may have side effects. It may also recommend changes to the member’s medication. The member’s doctor can use these results to help prescribe the right drug for you at the right dose.

When should someone consider taking a pharmacogenetics test? 

Consider taking a test if:

  • starting a new medication, or
  • taking a medication that isn’t working, or
  • taking a medication that’s causing side effects.

What conditions are covered by the test?

  • a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety
  • chronic pain
  • neurological conditions
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Please note only members who meet the requirements are permitted to take the test.

We all face challenges to our health and well-being at times. When this happens to your employees, you want them to know that you care - and that you understand their unique situation. Most importantly, you want them to know that you’re there to help by creating a supportive, inclusive and healthy work environment.

When an employee faces challenges due to a mental health related medical condition, it does not always mean they are unable to work. In fact, you may have an employee who has had a change in their cognitive or behavioural abilities due to a medical condition but is still contributing to your workplace. In these circumstances, a case manager from our Stay-at-work services (SAWS) team will take a collaborative approach to optimize treatment plans and provide solutions to improve or maintain an employee’s performance and/or attendance in the workplace. During this time, the employee would continue to work through their treatment plan while being supported by a SAWS case manager.

Prevention and early intervention are often the best ways to address absenteeism, reduce disability occurrence and promote a safe, timely return to work when a disability occurs. SAWS let’s your employees benefit from access to tailored support focused on keeping them healthy, engaged and productive.

SAWS includes:

  • Intermittent absence management – An assessment performed on employees who have been absent periodically for reasons that are self-identified as medical in nature. This assessment helps determine if a future absence may be expected and medically justified and/or if workplace accommodations may be necessary to help reduce the chance of absences.
  • Workplace accommodations – An assessment that provides guidance and support for employees with medical needs that are not totally disabling but may require workplace accommodation based on medical requirements.

1 in 10 Canadians have accessed mental health support in the past year.4

One-on-one digital therapy for employees who need help managing their mental health. Treatments are provided online by regulated health care professionals. Employees can learn new skills to manage stress or improve concerns like depression or anxiety. These services are eligible under a group plan if the provider (e.g., psychologist, social worker) is a covered practitioner under the plan.

Helping your group benefits members live healthy is one of the best investments you can make. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits are simply too great to measure.

Manulife Vitality Group Benefits helps members understand their current health, social and lifestyle habits. And then, the program rewards them for taking care and leading a healthy lifestyle! With a variety of activities, members have the tools and motivation they need to help reach their personal health and wellness goals.

Know your health. The Vitality Health ReviewTM determines a member’s Vitality AgeTM. The Vitality Nutrition Assessment and Mental Well-being Reviews offer other insights into their health.

Improve your health. A personalized weekly target helps motivate members to make healthy choices to improve or maintain their lifestyle.

Enjoy the rewards. When members meet targets, they earn great rewards!

Health Service Navigator is a second opinion service coupled with a preventative, diagnostic and information health tools that are easy to access by web or by phone. These resources allow employees to easily find the assistance or information they require to meet their need.

Designed to empower employees to make positive changes that will have a lasting impact on their health. The program includes 1‑on‑1 support from a health coach, personalized wellness plans and more. This is used as a prevention tool to keep members either on track as part of a RTW, or as a prevention tool through identified risks.

*Virtual Health Coaching is still in a pilot phase.

This simple online questionnaire measures a member’s current level of financial wellness and – based on their answers and financial priorities – provides them with a score and a personalized action plan to help them improve their situation.

Support while at work

The workplace can positively contribute to employee mental wellness through offering suitable mental health services. Work provides a person income, daily structure, but also a place where one can develop a sense of identity, purpose and accomplishment. The Mental Health Commission of Canada says that

“The workplace can be a strong contributor to mental wellbeing, giving people the opportunity to feel productive and achieve their potential.”

However, if an employee has a mental health condition, they may find it difficult to perform certain job tasks, with symptoms making things more challenging.

You may notice an employee making more errors than usual, avoiding key activities, alienating themselves or others, or working long hours to make up for a decrease in their usual work efficiency.

By investing in workplace wellbeing programs, which include products that support mental health, you’re doing your part to ensure your employees remain healthy and productive at work.

Ready to get started?

A thriving wellness program helps your members attain and maintain their health – leading to a healthier organization – because we know that good health doesn’t happen by accident: it happens by design.

Please contact a Manulife representative to learn more.