Mental health conditions on the rise while helpful resources go unused

60% of Canadians with mental health concerns are not taking advantage of support tools: 2019 Sun Life Barometer

Toronto, ON (Sept. 24, 2019) – Mental health challenges continue to affect the lives of many Canadians. According to the 2019 Sun Life Barometer, 59% of working Canadians have experienced a mental health issue, an increase from 52% in 2017.[1] With these issues on the rise, are Canadians getting the mental health support they need? The numbers show that 60% of working Canadians suffering from mental health issues aren’t accessing support through their workplace benefits and more than three quarters (78%) haven’t used government-funded services.

“We all have a role to play in supporting mental health in Canada. As an employer, it’s about creating a safe environment for your employees and ensuring they feel supported throughout their mental health journey,” said Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Canada. “Together, we can break down barriers and open the door for communication for someone experiencing a mental health condition. Help is out there, no one should face these challenges on their own.”

By 2020, millennials will make up an estimated 50% of the workplace.[2] Two out of three millennials have reported having dealt with a mental health issue at some point in their life. The good news is, 76% of millennials who report mental health challenges are speaking to their loved ones about it.

When it comes to finding mental health support, millennials are the least likely to seek help from health professionals (39%), and 61% have not made use of their workplace mental health benefits. Regardless of access to workplace benefit plans, free therapy and e-therapy programs funded by the government are available; yet 76% of millennials are not using these services.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, calling 9-1-1 and seeking immediate help may be necessary.


Mental health conditions on the rise while helpful resources remain untouched (Sun Life Financial)

Where to get help

“Whether you need someone to talk to, or help navigating the health care system, there are resources out there to get you the care you need – and quickly,” said Dave Jones, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life Canada. “Taking the first step is never easy but with mental health issues on the rise, it’s crucial for Canadians to maximize the tools offered by their workplace. Employees often don’t realize that their employer has resources available to help them, whether it be to maintain their mental health on a day-to-day basis or during a difficult time.”

Between workplace benefits plans, government resources and innovative apps, there are a variety of mental health tools to support Canadians:

  • Workplace benefits and Employee Assistance Programs: Many employers offer robust benefit plans that focus on mental, physical and financial health. Check in with your employer to learn more about your benefits.
  • Lumino Health: Sun Life’s online health network helps you search for trusted health care providers near you and find out about health innovations. Explore new mental health-related apps, articles, products and services to help you and your family live a healthier life.
  • Government resources: Mental health support is available through a local office of the Canadian Mental Health Association, a local crisis line or by contacting a general practitioner in your area.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, calling 9-1-1 and seeking immediate help may be necessary.


1. Sun Life Barometer, 2017.

2. PWC, “Millennials at work, Reshaping the workplace” (November 2011).

About the Survey

The 2019 Sun Life Barometer is based on findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 28 and April 3, 2019. A sample of 2,901 Canadians was drawn from the Ipsos I-Say online panel: 2,901 Canadians from 20 to 80 years of age including 2,151 working Canadians aged 20-64. The data for Canadians surveyed was weighted to ensure the sample’s regional, age, and gender composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population.

The precision of Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 2.1% at 95% confidence level had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval for the working Canadians subsample is +/-2.4%. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error.

About Sun Life

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate 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 June 30, 2019, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,025 billion. 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.

SOURCE: Sun Life Financial Canada

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