RBC Insurance Transforms Benefits for Mental Health
Get the right support at the right time.
How should anyone—from friends and relatives to colleagues and insurance advisors—talk about mental illness? Not in hushed tones, says former TSN host Michael Landsberg, who has dealt with depression for years. “We’ve been in the Dark Ages too long,” Landsberg told an RBC Insurance advisor forum in Toronto in June. Mental health can be a struggle. That’s why Landsberg praises the Onward program, which has been offered exclusively by RBC Insurance since 2016 through an agreement with Best Doctors Canada. Those who qualify for Onward are people with RBC individual or group disability insurance and have made a claim. The program aims to help people with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns get healthy, productive, and back to work sooner. Early intervention is critical. Onward enables rapid access to psychologists and psychiatrists. Moreover, therapy sessions can be conducted virtually from home. That saves time, eliminates the stress and cost of travelling to an appointment, and maintains privacy. Along with offering a diagnosis and treatment recommendations, Onward assigns an advocate to each client to guide them through the process. “My life would have gotten better way faster if I’d had access to something like Onward,” says Landsberg, a long-time mental health advocate (sicknotweak.com). “The comfort of knowing that someone has your back is the biggest thing in the world.” Forum moderator Ken Bowman, Senior Director, Claims, at RBC Insurance, noted that there has never been more focus on destigmatizing mental illness. Yet a huge number of Canadians (see “More Common Than You Think”) continue to struggle with getting help. Mental illness affects people of all ages, education levels, income levels, and cultures, and it’s the leading cause of long-term disability claims in Canada. RBC Insurance reports that close to 40% of its clients who have a group or individual disability claim are dealing with some type of mental health issue. Isabelle Moreau, a Senior Account Executive with Best Doctors Canada, explains that Onward fills a big gap. Often, people see their family doctor first if they have a mental health issue. The wait for a mental health professional can be long. A review showed that preOnward, individuals waited 145 days for a psychiatrist and 120 days for a psychologist. Now, with RBC Insurance’s program, the wait is under two weeks. Recognizing that individuals can be overwhelmed, Onward offers an invaluable advocate, added panellist Carol Lebert, Director of Support Services with RBC Insurance Claims. “The navigator’s ability to take someone by the hand and move them through the health-care maze is unique and fundamental,” says Lebert. The Onward clinical team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists and nurses. Lebert, who was once a registered nurse in psychiatry, says the program’s ability to assess, support, and help clients with returning to work is second to none. Reduced wait times, changes to diagnoses and treatment plans, speedier recovery, and less time off all serve the well-being of clients. Lebert shared the story of one man whose work and family were in turmoil while he awaited appropriate mental health care. “His life was falling apart,” she says. Once Onward became involved, the man was quickly connected to a psychologist who spoke his language. Not long after, he was able to resume work. “He has been restored.” With the right disability program and mental health support, Canadians can better deal with these illnesses—and move onward.
My life would have gotten better way faster if I’d had access to something like Onward. MICHAEL LANDSBERG, FORMER TSN HOST AND MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE
The ability to take someone by the hand and move them through the health-care maze is fundamental. CAROL LEBERT, DIRECTOR OF SUPPORT SERVICES, RBC INSURANCE CLAIMS