Supporting mental health in the workplaceVirtual care · Jun 10, 2021
People across Canada have experienced some form of distress related to COVID-19. This prolonged period of stress and social isolation has led researchers and health organizations to draw attention to an “echo pandemic” of mental health issues. In a survey conducted in March 2021, 42% of respondents believed that the pandemic would have lasting negative impacts on their mental health.
This lasting impact could translate to decreased engagement and productivity, as well as increased disability and absenteeism among employees. Thankfully, workplace wellness advocates have seen this as an opportunity to destigmatize discussions of mental health in the workplace and implement new policies to better support their staff well beyond the current pandemic.
Virtual care answers the call
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the pain-points Canadian employees face in accessing mental health services. With a newly distributed and remote workforce, employers have turned to virtual care as a means to offer support directly to their employees across the country. With digital services like TELUS Health Virtual Care’s LifeJourney™, employees are now connected to a network of dedicated healthcare professionals, with dedicated care advocates available 24/7 to listen to employees and assess their issues as they come up.
With a digital EAP such as LifeJourney™, employees have a clear way to seek help. There is a trusted, reliable place to turn in the event of a crisis, even in the middle of the night. In one single mobile app, employees and their immediate family1 are put in contact with a compassionate care advocate who can help elaborate a care plan adapted to their needs. This frictionless, direct access to mental health services helps empower employees to stay proactive about their overall health. Though stress, anxiety, depression, addiction and grief are never easy topics to discuss, employers play a critical role in providing their employees with a safe and confidential way of speaking openly with qualified mental health professionals.
By normalizing the need for mental health support services, employers are helping to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. A commitment to individual employee wellness will inevitably help contribute to more overall organizational health. In order to do so, employers must acknowledge that true wellness and health requires constant maintenance and foresight.
Solutions that are always within reach
For organizations, this means HR experts are first in line to assist in raising awareness of the benefits of good mental health practices and implementing strategies to maintain a healthy working environment. The first step in encouraging virtual mental health care is in making sure people are fully aware of the tools and programs that are available, and how to utilize them. Not only should employees know how to use the tool, but they should know that their employer is genuinely interested in improving their overall quality of life at work.
As organizations begin to plan for the future of their workplace, virtual care will be there to support employees and decision makers every step of the way. In addition to virtual care, LifeJourney also offers services such as Critical Incident Response, where specialists can work with teams to help rebuild a workplace where everyone feels safe and supported in the aftermath of a major event.
With the proper tools to support each other, a healthier future is within reach. That is why TELUS Health Virtual Care is committed to offering accessible, personalized solutions that help improve the lives of today’s Canadian workers.
As part of our commitment to making healthcare more accessible, we are bringing together the best-in-class features of our Akira by TELUS Health and EQ Care services to offer you on-demand virtual care service and employee assistance features, all with an enhanced focus on genuine human connections at every step of their journey. Discover TELUS Health Virtual Care.
This article was originally posted on January 20, 2021 and has since been updated.
1 Spouse and children under 26