April 30, 2024

Canadians are prioritizing mental health and seeking support

Mental health practitioner claims more than doubled between 2019 and 2023

TORONTO, April 30, 2024 /CNW/ - Canada has been grappling with a mental health crisis for years, but new data from Sun Life shows people are seeking the help they need. Between 2019 and 2022, the number of Sun Life Group Benefits' plan members making mental health practitioner claims grew by almost 70%. The volume of claims for mental health practitioners also continues to rise, growing 20% in 2023, and having more than doubled since 2019.

Trends were identified using data from Sun Life's Designed for Health report. The report highlights trends on paramedical and drug claims from over 3 million Canadians:

  • Mental health practitioner claims for those between the ages of 30-39 saw the largest increase in both growth and claim volume.
  • Women's mental health practitioner claims grew more than 37% compared to men's claims.
  • Mental health is the leading cause of disability, making up 40% of long-term disability claims for women versus 30% for men.
  • Depression drugs are now the highest volume claiming category for those under the age of 60, increasing 40% since 2019. That number has doubled for those under the age of 30.

"Over the last few years, the conversation around mental health has been front and centre. While there is still work to do to break the stigma, the data shows encouraging trends. Canadians are more open to talking about their mental health – they're reaching out to professionals and seeking the help they need," said Dr. Valerie Legendre, Clinical Psychologist and Director, Mental Health at Sun Life. "Managing mental health issues can be complex. Accessing support early is critical. Early intervention can help lead to quicker recoveries and positive long-term outcomes."

Workplaces have a role to play supporting mental health

As more Canadians seek mental health support, improving access to care has never been more important. Workplace benefits plans are helping to fill the gap by increasing access and affordability.

Many workplaces are extending the list of covered mental health practitioners to increase access and options for mental health treatment. Additionally, workplaces are increasing mental health coverage and adding innovative tools to support their employees. Lumino Health Virtual Care powered by Dialogue and Mental Health Coach provided by CloudMD are two examples of innovative tools in the market. The Mental Health Strategy Toolkit for employers is also a great free resource to help organizations build a strong and resilient framework to support employee mental health.

Improving access to care can lower disability claims, helping people improve their health and return to work. Companies that focus on the health of their employees, see both their people and businesses thrive.

"Empowering employees to take charge of their mental health is critical. Workplaces have an important role to play, not only when it comes to offering mental health resources, but in creating safe and inclusive work environments," said Marie-Chantal Côté, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life. "We hear firsthand from employers the positive impact access to mental health support has on their workplace, and most importantly on their employees."

Helping Clients live healthier lives is central to Sun Life's Purpose and being a sustainable company. Through innovative health solutions, Sun Life is maximizing its positive impact helping millions of Clients and Canadians with their physical and mental health.

About Sun Life

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing asset management, wealth, insurance and health solutions to individual and institutional Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2023, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1.40 trillion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Media Relations Contact:
Carolyn Rae
Senior Communications Specialist
Corporate Communications
T. 416-565-7307

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada