The Mental Health Crisis in Canada

Canadians are concerned about their mental health more than ever before, and most believe our government isn’t doing enough to help.  A recent survey conducted for the Canadian Mental Health Association shows that an incredible 87% of Canadians want universal mental healthcare. This means that the services needed are (1) available, (2) funded through public health insurance plans and free to the individual, and (3) are the same no matter where a person lives or who they are. 

Even more alarming is the fact that of the 35% of people who experienced a mental health concern in the past year, more than one-third did not reach out for help primarily because it is too expensive or because they don’t know where to find it. The research also showed that more than half of people living in Canada (57%) would access mental health care through a community organization with a free program.

Why This Matters to You

Caring isn’t just a matter of compassion. It’s important also to your business. Happier employees are more productive employees. They concentrate better, learn more, and have an easier time making decisions. People who experience a mental illness may withdraw from others or act in unexpected ways. They might take a lot of time off or appear less productive than usual. This can strain relationships with supervisors and co-workers.

And it can cost your business money. A LOT of money. Employee absences and presenteeism are costing Canadian employers nearly $645 million annually, according to a new report by Manulife Financial Corp. As explained in this article by Benefits Canada, an average of 48 days per employee were lost in 2022 due to health-related absences and presenteeism, a seven-day increase from 2021. Workers aged 18 to 24 had poorer results in key mental, physical and financial-health indicators combined with higher productivity loss, compared to older workers. Knowing that your employees’ mental health impacts so much – including your company’s bottom line – makes clear the importance of doing something about it.

A Few Ideas to support Your Employees’ Mental Health (We Have Inside Information It Works)

When our Executive Office Assistant Candace Schick told us she wanted to record a video in which she talks about the mental health supports we provide our team, and how we helped her through a particularly challenging time in her personal life, we were surprised as this was something she didn’t have to do.

Candace told us, though, that she wanted to give voice to the impact employers can have on their employees by providing them these types of supports and by demonstrating genuine care and concern for their employees’ well-being. This would help validate what some other employers are already doing in this way – for example, providing an Employee and Family Assistance Plan and having a supportive, engaged, and compassionate work culture – while also helping to demonstrate to others the reasons they should consider doing it too.

This is Candace’s story but it can be your employees’ story too. Want to learn more? Please reach out as this is something worth talking about.

Deb Wiegers, GBA, CLU, CH.F.C.

Managing Principal, Benefits Divison

Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.