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Controlling the “echo pandemic” with mental health services, support

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on January 27, 2021

Canada is in the midst of an “echo pandemic” with the mental health of Canadians continuing to decline in tandem with the continuing rise in COVID-19 transmission.

Early signs appeared when researchers began checking on the mental health of Canadians last spring. Recent status reports indicate the dual health crisis is intensifying during the pandemic’s second wave. In fact, Morneau Shepell's Mental Health Index for December was down for the ninth consecutive month, hitting its lowest point since April 2020.

The index indicated that nearly two-fifths (36%) of Canadian workers are concerned about the mental health of a co-worker – just one percentage higher than the number of supervisors (35%) who expressed concern about the wellbeing of their employees. The report suggests the Canadian workforce may be at risk of "detrimental long-term mental health effects" because of COVID-19 related issues like job and financial security and social isolation.

Helping build healthy workplaces, communities

As a premier all-in-one-carrier and leading provider of mental health solutions, we recognize the important role we play. We can help to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the wellbeing of Canadians and stress and anxiety from escalating into major mental and physical health issues.

The need for mental health services in our community has never been greater. Ensuring Niagara’s youth have access to appropriate mental health supports, right when and where they need them can make all the difference in a young person’s life. Working together with youth and their families, we are building a stronger, more resilient community.
Kim Rossi, Director of Philanthropy & PR, Pathstone Mental Health, Medavie Health Foundation Partner

Now, more than ever, we are committed to helping build psychologically safe and healthy workplaces and communities. That is why we support Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 28 – to help drive progress in mental health by raising awareness and combatting the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Stepped up our efforts to increase access

It was with this same goal in mind that we stepped up our efforts in 2020 to give Canadians easier access to quality mental health care, knowing that 60% don’t seek the professional help they need because of barriers like stigma.

We increased our collaboration with mental health service providers, augmented our investment in new technologies, accelerated new initiatives and strengthened our partnerships in the not-for-profit sector.

The links between homelessness and mental illness are well recognized. Providing homeless and at-risk youth with access to mental health care can help them on their path to resilience and independence. With empathy and respect, we provide youth with the skills and resources they need to lead more autonomous, rewarding lives.
Cécile Arbaud, Executive Director, Dans La Rue, Medavie Health Foundation partner

Expanded and enhanced our offering

As a result, we enhanced and expanded services and supports to help Canadians experiencing who are struggling with their mental health during the pandemic.

Our solutions include inConfidence, our EFAP program; My Good Health, our wellness portal; our Mental Health Practitioners benefit and the innovative, convenient health care options offered through Connected Care, our digital health platform, including Digital Therapy (internet-enabled Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Personalized Medicine (pharmacogenetic testing) Online Doctors (virtual doctor visits) and Virtual Physio (web-based physiotherapy introduced in November). Connected Care services are available exclusively to plan members at preferred pricing.

Added Live Therapy to Connected Care

New to Connected Care is Live Therapy by MindBeacon, one of our Digital Therapy providers, complementing its Therapist Guided Program. This gives members the option to choose the type of therapy they prefer, depending on how comfortable they are in discussing their concerns face-to-face and how much flexibility they have in their schedule. Both services are covered under the Psychologist/Social Worker benefit, as part of the Extended Health Benefits plan.

Doubled our community investment

One of our proudest achievements in 2020 was doubling the yearly dollar amount we contribute to the Medavie Health Foundation. We do this by paying a portion of our net profits in the form of a social dividend to support organizations that are dedicated to addressing our three core causes: adolescent mental health, post-traumatic stress and healthy living. Last year, we gave a total $5 million to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts with a focus on food security and mental health – the single-largest community investment Medavie has ever made in its 75-year-plus history.

Timely access to mental health services helps develop stronger, more resilient youth. Recognizing the impact of wait time on patient outcomes, we work to ensure youth struggling with mental health problems have access to prompt and coordinated care in leading their best lives.
Andrew LeBlanc, Executive Director, Atlantic Wellness, Mental Health Foundation partner

Learn 7 ways to protect your employees

In 2021, the mental health of Canadians will remain a major focus of our efforts. Watch for new initiatives in the coming months to help sponsors support the psychological health and safety of their members. To that end, we invite you to read this blog we posted earlier on our Insights blog, suggesting top 7 ways employers can help employees protect their mental health.

Get COVID-19 updates

For the latest information about COVID-19 and health benefits, we encourage you and your employees to check the site we have dedicated to pandemic updates and return regularly.

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