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WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 11, 2017 /CNW/ - Under its redesigned benefits plan, Manulife employees will now receive a mental health support benefit up to $10,000 per person per year, including family members. These benefits are fully paid by Manulife. This amount represents among the highest mental health benefits offered by Canadian employers. The new plan became available on January 1, 2017.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, an estimated one in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Mental health claims represent 35 per cent of all short-term disability claims and 44 per cent of all long-term disability claims for Manulife employees.
"By enhancing benefits that support the health and wealth of our employees and their families, we are investing in our greatest resource – our people," said Stephani Kingsmill, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Manulife. "We now know that early detection of mental health issues and minimizing the impact through treatment can make a big difference in a person's life."
Mental health benefits increased by 10 times previous amount
Under the previous benefits plan, employees could claim up to $1,000 per year depending on the level of benefits they chose for any combination of professional services provided by licensed practitioners, including mental health.
Manulife conducted a comprehensive review of its employee benefits program using competitive benchmarking, a best practice analysis and employee focus groups. Through that review process, it became evident it was important to Manulife employees to receive increased mental health support.
"The costs of seeing a mental health professional can prevent people from seeking support," said Kingsmill. "With these enhanced benefits, we've removed the financial barrier for our employees to access long-term mental health support when and how they need it."
In order to meet this need, Manulife separated the benefit for mental health practitioners from other practitioners such as physiotherapists. This provided greater flexibility within the new benefits plan, which was designed to provide employees with more options and choices.
"Addressing mental health in the workplace is vital, because most Canadian adults spend more time at work than they do anywhere else," said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. "Manulife has taken important, progressive action that demonstrates clear leadership when it comes to prioritizing employees' health and wellness. I would encourage all employers to aspire to this kind of forward-thinking."
Improved treatment of mental health could boost Canadian economy
The Conference Board of Canada1 estimates that improved treatment of depression among employed Canadians could potentially boost Canada's economy by up to $32.3 billion a year, while improved treatment of anxiety could boost the economy by up to $17.3 billion a year. More can be done to ensure that Canadians are supported by effective workplace policies, programs, and benefits that foster good mental health and address mental illness when it is present.
In 2012, 122,900 finance, insurance and real estate professionals required mental health care. Nearly 18 per cent of them had unmet mental health needs1. Based on Statistics Canada 2011 Census data, nearly five per cent of Canada's workforce (age 15 years and older) worked in financial services and insurance2.
In 2016, Manulife received silver certifications for Mental Health in the Workplace and Healthy Workplace from Excellence Canada.
"We are so very proud to bestow Canada Awards for Excellence to Manulife for its remarkable progress towards providing exemplary mental health services and practices in the workplace that support employee health," says Allan Ebedes, CEO and President, Excellence Canada. "Manulife is a Canadian role model of excellence for taking actions to ensure a healthy workplace for its employees including one that is psychologically healthy and safe. The Mental Health at Work ®award recognizes organizations for outstanding performance in promoting, achieving and maintaining psychological health and safety in the workplace. We applaud Manulife for its leadership role in not only 'walking the talk' for mental health in the workplace, but for continuously looking for new ways to help other organizations create and foster a psychologically healthy and safe workplace."
For more on Manulife's mental health initiatives and partnerships, visit manulife.ca/mentalhealth
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people achieve their dreams and aspirations by putting customers' needs first and providing the right advice and solutions. We operate as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2015, we had approximately 34,000 employees, 63,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers. At the end of September 2016, we had $966 billion (US$736 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $24.4 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong. Follow Manulife on Twitter @ManulifeNews or visit www.manulife.com or www.johnhancock.com.
SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation
For further information: Media Contact: Brooke Tucker-Reid, Manulife, 647-528-9601, Brooke_Tucker-Reid@manulife.com