Canada Life is rolling out a deeper mental health proposition with RedArc following a trial that indicates absences can be significantly reduced with more intensive interventions.
Following an eight-month project investigating the extent to which mental health support can return employees suffering with mental health issues to work, the provider is rolling out more intensive mental health support to its group income protection customers. This will be on a case by case basis where the Canada Life clinical team feels the support from RedArc can be best used to support those employees with mental health conditions.
The trial followed 10 cases identified and referred to RedArc. The employees involved had varying conditions, ranging from work-related depression and anxiety, to life-long conditions such as bipolar disorder. A number of the cases had other underlying conditions and problems, including those that had previously experienced breast cancer, relationship issues, physical pain, bullying, family issues and bereavement.
Individuals were given a referral to a dedicated RedArc mental health personal nurse adviser who undertook a risk assessment and provided a range of specialist support, including long-term practical and emotional support, research and sign-posting employees to specialist charities and self-help groups, suggesting coping mechanisms, helping employees make decisions about work, including discussing return-to-work options with their employer, providing specialist information such as factsheets, books and CDs and arranging an assessed course of therapy.
Therapies offered included counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), specialist bereavement counselling and life coaching.
Claimants gave their consent at the outset for medical information to be shared back with Canada Life, allowing clinical discussions with Canada Life nurses and facilitating discussion relevant to on-going claims or return-to-work management.
Canada Life says the results have been positive, with seven of the 10 now either back in work or making positive steps towards returning to work. Three have reached other positive conclusions to their claims, says Canada Life.
Based on these trials, Canada Life predicts that claims-resolutions can be dramatically improved with these sorts of interventions. It says that while the number of cases is too small to draw firm conclusions, the pilot suggests the process can cut waiting times for therapy and counselling from up to six months down to just two or three weeks.
From now on, claimants of Canada Life group income protection for mental health conditions will be able to receive support from a specialist RedArc nurse when appropriate.
Other lesser known specialist therapies can also be offered where appropriate, including eye movement desensitisation & reprocessing (EMDR); mindfulness; dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT); and cognitive analytical therapy (CAT).
Canada Life marketing director Paul Avis says: “We were very pleased to be offering this service. We wanted to provide much more than just financial support to our customers, and chose to do this by exploring the possibilities of working with a third party who could offer specialist mental health support. Group income protection is a superb product, but ultimately getting back to a stable working life is usually in the best interests of the individual from both a financial and a mental wellbeing point of view. We were also keen to pursue this line of thinking as there are obvious inherent benefits to our business as well.”
RedArc managing director Christine Husbands says: “Third-party mental health support can make a huge difference, not only for the individual but there is a strong business case for the insurer too, in reducing the length of each claim, total claims overall, projection and management of claims funds.
“This trial was particularly successful due to the tripartite relationship we had with Canada Life and the individuals themselves. With successful communication between all parties, all claimants made good progress in improving their mental health and were better able to make judgements about their future and whether or not a return to the workplace was appropriate.
“Running a pilot scheme is a very pragmatic way for an insurer to really see the benefits of external support without initially committing fully to a programme. There is also an additional benefit that the pilot allows both the insurer and mental health provider to fine-tune the service-offering to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible when the service is rolled out fully.”