Online therapy to support mental health

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians experience a mental health issue in any given year, making it a leading cause of disability in Canada. In fact, almost 30 per cent of all group disability claims at RBC Insurance are related to mental health.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression as well as other mental health issues. There are some factors however that deter people from engaging in face to face therapy. For some people finding the time, access to care and fear of embarrassment are all issues that can prevent those who need care from seeking it.

A study by the University of Regina partnered with The Co-operators Group Ltd. is being conducted to explore the benefits and challenges of online cognitive behavioural therapy and the level of interest among employees. Research by the University of Regina in the past has shown that online therapy is effective in improving mental health and day to day function.

For many people accessing care online from the comfort of their home is convenient and often preferred. “25 percent of people accessing our online therapy unit say this is the first time they felt comfortable seeking help” notes Heather Hadjistavropoulos, a professor of psychology at the University of Regina and director of the online therapy unit.

Also taking into account that the workforce is comprised more and more of employees who have grown up with computers and smart phones and who are very comfortable with turning to online sources for help. Digital options for mental health makes sense.

RBC Insurance has signed an exclusive agreement with Best Doctors Canada to provide RBC Insurance’s disability insurance clients with industry leading mental health support and advocacy. The program called “Onward™” is geared towards helping clients with depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns, get healthy, productive and back to work sooner. Given that early intervention is critical when dealing with mental illnesses, the Onward by Best Doctors™ program provides rapid access to psychologists. The program includes 12 therapy sessions that can be conducted digitally from the comfort of home, eliminating the stress and cost of travel to an appointment. In addition, the program provides diagnosis and treatment recommendations from a leading psychiatrist to the client’s physician while assigning an advocate to each client to guide them throughout the entire process.

Sun Life Financial introduced a new business area called digital health solutions to help Canadians access the latest in digital capabilities and innovations to take care of their health and well-being.

This fall, Sun Life is launching ‘Ella’, an interactive digital coach who will help Clients fully utilize their benefits and pension plans. This new technology, which will be available first online and through Sun Life’s mobile app soon after, will help Clients appreciate the plans provided by their employers like never before, helping them to achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. Sun Life intends to make “Ella” an increasingly interactive tool that connects employees to applicable resources.

The trend of using technology to deliver health and wellness services continues to grow, providing more flexible options for employees looking for assistance.

Sources:
RBC Insurance Launches Exclusive Industry Leading Mental Health Program
Newswire.ca “Two Leading Organizations Partner for Research Study on the Benefits of Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Supporting Mental Health Care”
Benefits Canada ” Assessing the impact of online therapy as digital health tools proliferate”
Sun Life introduces ‘Ella’, an interactive digital coach to help Clients navigate and maximize their benefits and pension plans