According to studies by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, an average of 500,000 Canadians a week miss work because of issues related to mental health. Seventy per cent of disability costs are associated with mental health issues and illnesses. As a provider of life, health and wealth solutions, we want to be a leader in helping tackle this all-too-pervasive challenge that prevents people from living their best lives.
It starts with taking care of our own employees. In Canada, we took the step of raising the mental health support benefit offered to our employees to $10,000 per person per year, including family members. These benefits are fully paid by Manulife and the amount is among the highest mental health benefits offered by Canadian employers.
"We know that detecting mental health issues early and getting the right treatment makes a dramatic improvement in peoples’ lives,” says Maria Fraga, AVP, Global Benefits and Wellness, Manulife. "We wanted to remove cost as a barrier for our employees and help them access support in whatever way is best for them."
The feedback from our employees has been overwhelmingly positive. What’s more, our short-term disability claims related to mental health have decreased since enhancing the benefit, and significantly more people are returning to work after being diagnosed with a mental health issue.
In 2018, Manulife received gold certifications for Mental Health in the Workplace and Healthy Workplace from Excellence Canada, recognizing our efforts to transform our workplace into an engaged and healthy environment, and to support our employees’ mental health.