The Co-operators partners in research study on mental health therapy provided online

By The IJ Staff | September 11 2017 09:45AM

Photo: Freepik

The Co-operators, with the University of Regina, have announced they will conduct a research study focused on the benefits of Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT).

The therapy aims to support stay-at-work and early-return-to-work situations for employees facing a mental health condition. The goal is to provide simple, barrier-free access to cognitive behavioural therapy, stated The Co-operators and the University of Regina in a Sept. 7 announcement.

"The facts are compelling. We know that one in five Canadians will experience a psychological health problem or illness in any given year, making mental health the number one cause of disability in Canada. As an employer and group benefits provider, we see first-hand the impact mental illness is having on Canadians. The resulting absenteeism, disability costs and loss of productivity impacts our economy by as much as $51 billion per year," said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators.

New form of treatment

ICBT is a relatively new form of treatment for patients, providing strategies on dealing with anxiety and depression. The program is supported with access to a therapist through secure emails and phone calls. Past research says three quarters of ICBT patients report significant improvements.

"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with The Co-operators on this study to better understand the benefits of ICBT for stay-at-work and early-return-to-work employees who are experiencing difficulties with depression and anxiety. Our past research with more than 2,300 people shows that ICBT is effective for improving mental health symptoms and also day-to-day functioning including work disruption, family and home responsibilities, and social life," said Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, University of Regina psychology professor and director of the University's Online Therapy Unit.

She adds that ICBT is a convenient method for clients to access care when they are reluctant or unable to attend face-to-face therapy.