Manulife Financial launches Workplace Solutions for Mental Health


    WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Manulife Financial has launched Workplace
Solutions for Mental Health, an innovative, practical solution that works with
an employer's existing disability and absence management programs to
proactively manage mental health in the workplace.
    "We are delighted to introduce Workplace Solutions for Mental Health, the
first targeted practical solution of its kind," said Donna Carbell, Vice
President Disability and Absence Management Solutions, Manulife Financial
Group Benefits. "The program integrates with our absence-to-disability
products and services, plus offers practical solutions for employees and
employers - all aimed to achieve better outcomes in mental health."
    In today's work force, mental health has a significant impact on both
employers and employees. Mental illness affects both absenteeism and
productivity; it is a leading cause of employee disability in a work
environment. Based on Manulife Financial's claims experience, more than 30 per
cent of long-term disability claims administered on behalf of clients are
related to mental illness. Previous industry studies have estimated mental
illness costs the Canadian economy more than $51 billion a year(1) in lost
productivity, direct medical costs and reductions in health-related quality of
    Workplace Solutions for Mental Health includes a website that serves as a
resource centre for employees and employers seeking practical information
about mental health. It highlights Manulife Financial's mental health tools
and promotes awareness. This website is regularly updated with new material
and also provides links to other reputable mental health websites.
    To access Workplace Solutions for Mental Health, visit the plan sponsor
or plan administrator site at Look under the
heading 'WHAT'S NEW'.

    There are two key components to Workplace Solutions for Mental Health:

    -  It is practical. Manulife Financial's services, tools and resources
       can be immediately put into action to help employers deal with the
       effects of mental illness on their organization. This includes
       resources or information that employers can apply within their
       environment and services embedded in the disability process that can
       help employees with their recovery and return to work.

    -  It focuses on results. The new program can help provide positive
       mental health outcomes for Manulife Financial's clients and their
       workforces. The tools are designed to help employees return to work
       healthy and productive, resulting in less long-term use of health and
       disability benefits, improved health and wellness, and ultimately,
       better financial outcomes. Manulife Financial's network of disability
       and absence management experts use a comprehensive approach to case
       management and undergo regular mental health training to keep up to
       date on best practices.

    Along with the new tool announced today, Manulife Financial also was a
lead sponsor of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) National
conference in August 2008. The theme of the conference this year was "Making
Waves for Change; from Surviving to Thriving". Group Benefits also was a
sponsor of the 2008 Transforming Lives Award for the Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health.

    About Manulife Financial
    Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group
serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide.
Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John
Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of
financial protection products and wealth management services through its
extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Funds under
management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$400 billion
(US$393 billion) as at June 30, 2008.
    Manulife Financial is one of two publicly traded life insurance companies
in the world whose rated life insurance subsidiaries hold Standard & Poor's
Rating Services' highest "AAA" rating.
    Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '0945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet

    (1) Toronto Centre for Addiction and Mental Health study, Globe & Mail,
        June 23, 2008

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Tom Nunn, Manulife Financial,
(519) 594-8578,

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