RBC In­sur­ance Trans­forms Ben­e­fits for Men­tal Health

Get the right sup­port at the right time.

Investment Executive - - ADVISORS’ REPORT CARD -

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

Michael Landsberg

Ken Bow­man

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