____ Posted Tuesday September 12, 2017 ____

Mental Health

Two Leading Organizations Partner for Research Study on the Benefits of Internet-Delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Supporting Mental Health Care

The Co-operators, together with the University of Regina, is pleased to announce a research study focused on the benefits of Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT). The therapy is designed to support stay-at-work and early-return-to-work situations for employees facing a mental health condition. This new online therapy option provides simple, barrier-free access to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

"The facts are compelling. We know that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a psychological health problem or illness in any given year, making mental health the number one cause of disability in Canada. As an employer and group benefits provider, we see first-hand the impact mental illness is having on Canadians. The resulting absenteeism, disability costs and loss of productivity impacts our economy by as much as $51 billion per year1," explained Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "Supporting mental health is the right thing to do and The Co-operators is committed to providing innovative access to customizable care so that our plan sponsors can be assured that their members have access to the care they need, where and when they need it as they cope with these issues."

Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a relatively new approach to treatment that provides patients access to care in a convenient way. ICBT is highly standardized and involves therapists guiding patients through an online program that provides strategies for dealing with depression and anxiety. Patients also receive support from a dedicated therapist via secure emails or phone calls. Past research shows that 75 per cent of patients complete ICBT and report significant symptom improvements.

"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with The Co-operators on this study to better understand the benefits of ICBT for stay-at-work and early-return-to-work employees who are experiencing difficulties with depression and anxiety. Our past research with more than 2,300 people shows that ICBT is effective for improving mental health symptoms and also day-to-day functioning including work disruption, family and home responsibilities, and social life," said Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, University of Regina psychology professor and director of the University's Online Therapy Unit. "ICBT represents a particularly convenient method for clients to access care when they are reluctant or unable to attend face-to-face therapy."

The study is slated to begin this week.

Mental Health in the Workplace

• According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in any given week, at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems. 2

• About 30 per cent of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health problems and illnesses. 3

• In 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover. 4

Source - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, "Mental Health and Addiction: Facts and Statistics," 2015

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