Manulife uses cookies to personalize your experience, analyze site traffic and serve targeted ads. Learn more about your privacy options.

View more

Manulife uses cookies to personalize your experience, analyze site traffic and serve targeted ads. Learn more about your privacy options.

View more
Skip to main content Skip to notification content

Growing number of young Canadians suffering with mental illness and diabetes, according to Manulife data

Key findings[1]:
  • Canadians (18-34) on long-term disability for mental illness have increased 22% since 2019
  • Canadians (18-34) submitting claims for mental health reasons has increased 27% since 2021
  • Canadians under the age of 44, made up 19% of workers who submitted diabetes claims in 2022, up from 13% in 2019


November 17, 2022

Toronto – New health insights from Manulife show younger Canadian workers are going on sick leave for mental health issues more frequently, and growing numbers are seeking treatment for diabetes.

“We’re seeing concerning trends among young Canadians, particularly in cases of mental illness and diabetes,” says Ashesh Desai, Head of Group Benefits for Manulife Canada. “To help employers, we’re giving them new insights into their benefit plans, so they have better data to design their future employee health programs. Companies can use these insights to ensure their benefits are structured adequately to support employees’ increasing needs. Equally important, we’re very focused on deploying digital experiences that help our customers leverage their benefit plans, and get the right care, at the right time.”

According to Manulife Group Benefits claims data, the number of Canadian employees between ages 18 and 34 going on long-term disability for mental illness has increased by 22% since 2019. Overall, the number of workers in this age group submitting claims for mental health reasons, including therapy, medication, and disability, is up 27% in just the past year.

Manulife’s health insights also show more employees under the age of 44 are seeking treatment for diabetes than in the past. Those under the age of 44 made up 19% of workers who submitted claims for diabetes in 2022, up from 13% in 2019.


Manulife provides Health Insight reports to help employers tailor benefit plans

As one of the largest and longest-serving providers of Group Benefits in Canada, Manulife has powerful insights from millions of claims transactions each year, to help organizations identify, track, and manage the growth of health issues facing Canadians and their families.

Providing health insight information on an aggregate basis allows Manulife’s experts to help employers tailor their benefit and wellness programs to the specific needs of their employees.

“Employers play a significant role in the wellness of their workforces and it’s more important than ever they be aware of emerging health trends,” says Michael Lanteigne, VP Life & Disability, Manulife Group Benefits. “We’ve developed an innovative program that gives employers insights into key health trends, so they can deliver the right wellness support, at the right time, in the right way.”

The program is currently available to select Manulife Group Benefits clients and will be rolled out to other large companies in 2023.

“It’s time to take the guesswork out of workforce wellness and to deliver employee health solutions—by design,” says Desai. “The benefits industry needs to innovate alongside employers, and with other partners in the healthcare space to find new ways to help make workforces healthier.”


About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our global wealth and asset management segment, we serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2021, we had more than 38,000 employees, over 119,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 33 million customers. Our principal operations are in Asia and Canada, and the United States, where we have served customers for more than 160 years. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong. In the previous 12 months we made CAD$32.7 billion in payments to our customers. 

Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit


Media contact

Jeremy Laurin



[1] Manulife Group Benefits Aggregate Data