Message from the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health

by: Maureen Gillespie, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Change Management, Cooperators

In 2009 the CLHIA developed a set of Guiding Principles to Support Good Mental Health in the Workplace. Since that time, the life and health insurance industry has show great leadership in advancing the understanding and support for mental health issues in Canadian workplaces, both as employers and as group benefit providers. Much has changed in the mental health landscape in Canada in the 10 years since these guiding principles were put in place. Canadians are much more aware of mental health issues and the impact on lives, thanks to campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk and World Mental Health Day. Despite increased awareness and positive steps toward the reduction of stigma, there is much work still to be done, and the need continues to increase.

This issue of SPARK is the beginning of a series highlighting emerging best practices in the mental health space, profiling innovative solutions to some of the issues we are still struggling with. One of these issues is removing barriers to access mental health services, so all Canadians have affordable and easily accessible mental health support. Read about innovative technologies to connect patients in real time via secure teleconferencing with mental health practitioners in the article on Telepsychiatry. Learn more about the success of ICBT – internet delivered cognitive behavioural therapy.

Another issue at the forefront of the mental health discussion is the diversity of the modern workplace that will require us to adapt and innovate to meet the diverse needs of a multi-generational workforce. The large cohort of millennials in our workplaces are “digital natives” used to accessing services in this way. How can we better meet their needs by adapting and innovating how we provide them mental health services and support? ICBT is one example, along with the rise of apps promoting self care and mental health support. Read more in the article An Insurer’s Perspective - Meeting the mental health needs of a multi-generation workforce in the digital age.

Our CLHIA members are at the forefront of many of these innovative solutions and have shared their insights with you in this issue of SPARK. I hope you find their stories both inspiring and practical. The future is now, with exciting developments on the horizon that will ensure our industry continues to lead, adapt, innovate and make a difference in building a mentally healthy Canada.

Our committee wishes you and your families a healthy, happy, safe holiday season.