Corporate News

New Study of Canadians by Teladoc Health Reveals COVID-19 Pandemic’s Widespread Negative Impact on Employee Mental Health

  • Half of respondents report their mental health has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 39% of employees indicate their employers have responded to the pandemic with support of their mental health

  • 85% who have access to employee benefits welcome virtual care to support mental health needs

TORONTO, May 6, 2020 – A new study of Canadians highlights the negative mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and underscores the need for continued awareness, education and support of mental health care in the workplace, especially during the current public health crisis. It also indicates that a growing number of employers are offering proactive mental health support, mirroring employees’ interest and comfort in virtual care options as part of their mental health and wellness. The study of 1,558 employees or those recently employed in Canada and the U.S. was conducted by Leger and commissioned by Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) as a follow-up to the company’s 2019 international mental health study conducted last fall.

COVID-19 Negative Impact on Mental Health More Prevalent in Women and Young Canadians

As a result of COVID-19, one in two respondents indicate their mental health has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The breakdown of this data shows:

  • The negative impact on female respondents (57%) is far greater than male respondents (43%)

  • 52% of respondents between the ages of 18-34 were negatively impacted

    • This trend is similar to the U.S. where 49% of the same age group reported being negatively impacted. It is also consistent with findings from the fall study that revealed a greater need of support for this demographic

  • Respondents over the age of 65, an age group that has been deemed most at risk for the virus, experienced the lowest reported negative impact in both Canada (37%) and the United States (38%).

More Employers Proactively Providing Mental Health Support to Employees

To support the growing impact on employees’ well-being, there is progress in opening the dialogue and closing the gap for mental health support in the workplace. Nearly 40% of respondents in Canada, far more than the 27% reported in the U.S., indicated that their employers have responded to the pandemic with some or all of the following initiatives:

  • Offering additional mental health support

  • Raising the discussion of employee mental health needs

  • Waiving fees for mental health support

For example, Teladoc Health has expanded its benefits offering, assuring that all of the company’s 2,400 employees around the globe have access to and are aware of their free mental health benefits.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has given the mental health dialogue even greater importance and further advanced awareness and support for mental health among employers who are making it a priority,” said David Sides, chief operating officer, Teladoc Health. “Our research from 2019 to today shows that we’re closing the gap in employer support for mental health, as well as employees growing comfort in the use of virtual care. Teladoc Health will continue to play a leading role in normalizing the mental health conversation and providing mental health care to those who need it.”

The growing employer support can be seen firsthand with the expanding list of Teladoc Health Canada partners who are supporting their employees with additional mental health resources. The utilization of Teladoc Health’s Mental Health Navigator – a service that offers a confidential path to expert medical opinions on mental health as well as assistance in navigating the health system to help ensure correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment – has increased over the past 60 days with clients adding and expanding use. Year over year, the company is seeing an increase of more than 80% in new members contracted with access to the Mental Health Navigator service.

Canadians Demonstrate Increased Comfort in Using Virtual Care

With an increase in mental health education, awareness and support, comes increased comfort in seeking care and exploring remote care options. The study found that Canadian respondents with an employee benefits plan (66%) are more aware of the mental health resources available to them than American respondents (55%). Furthermore, six in ten (62%) Canadian respondents said they would be comfortable using virtual care for mental health support. 85% of Canadians who have access to employee benefits said benefit plans should offer virtual care benefits as an option to support mental health concerns as they do with physical health needs. This new data represents a significant increase in support for virtual care over the past six months. An October 2019 study by IPSOS MORI, and commissioned by Teladoc Health, reported that 40% of respondents welcomed remote forms of care.

“This pandemic has further highlighted the access gaps and need for widespread mental health care. Our providers are hearing a louder voice for mental health support than ever before, particularly in young people,” said Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, medical director and vice president of Mental Health Services, Teladoc Health. “Seeking support to address mental health concerns is the new normal as more people choose not to bottle up their issues and keep them to themselves. The call for support is trending upward, as we play a critical role in working to help improve mental health education and awareness.”

About the study

Leger conducted the omnibus survey among 1,504 Canadians and 1,001 Americans between Friday, April 17 and Sunday, April 20, 2020, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5% for Canada and +/-3.1% for the United States, 19 times out of 20. Questions were directed towards those who were employed or recently employed.

About Teladoc Health

A mission-driven organization, Teladoc Health, Inc. is successfully transforming how people access and experience healthcare, with a focus on high quality, lower costs, and improved outcomes around the world. Ranked #1 among direct-to-consumer telehealth providers in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study, the integrated services from Teladoc Health include telehealth, expert medical services, AI and analytics, and licensable platform services. With more than 2,400 employees, the organization delivers care in 175 countries and in more than 40 languages, partnering with employers, hospitals and health systems, and insurers to transform care delivery. For more information, please visit www.teladochealth.ca or follow @TeladocHealth on Twitter.