Following successful results, Canada Life rolls out mental health support widely via RedArc


Following a long and successful relationship together, Canada Life worked with RedArc on an eight-month project to better understand how, in partnership, employers and employees can be more fully supported during mental health-related absence. Feedback has been very positive, and Canada Life is delighted with the first-class support provided by RedArc. The decision has been taken that the work from this project will continue, to focus on helping employers deal with the complex, and growing issue of mental ill health.


Canada Life was keen to identify whether external mental health support would make a positive impact both on the individuals as well as the resolution of claims – particularly when claimants had complex issues and where early intervention was possible.

Ten cases were identified and referred to RedArc. They had varying conditions, ranging from work-related depression and anxiety, to life-long conditions such as bipolar disorder. A number of the cases had other underlying conditions and problems, including those that had previously experienced breast cancer, relationship issues, physical pain, bullying, family issues and bereavement.

Results for the individuals

Results have been very positive. Good progress has been made with all of the individuals; seven of the ten are in work or making positive steps towards returning to work. Three have reached other positive conclusions to their claims.

In line with RedArc’s approach of long-term support, all ten individuals will continue to receive ongoing help from their own personal nurse adviser for as long as they find it of benefit.

The service has been very positively received by all employees, with comments such as: “So wonderful, so overwhelmed. I didn’t know this would be available.”

Paul Avis, marketing director, Canada Life said:

“We were very pleased to be offering this service. We wanted to provide much more than just financial support to our customers, and chose to do this by exploring the possibilities of working with a third party who could offer specialist mental health support. Group Income Protection is a superb product, but ultimately getting back to a stable working life is usually in the best interests of the individual from both a financial and a mental wellbeing point of view. We were also keen to pursue this line of thinking as there are obvious inherent benefits to our business as well.”

About the scheme

The service offered to claimants comprised a referral to a dedicated RedArc Mental Health Personal Nurse Adviser. The nurse then undertook a risk assessment and provided a range of specialist support, including (but not limited to):

  • long-term practical and emotional support
  • research and sign-posting employees to specialist charities and self-help groups
  • suggesting coping mechanisms
  • helping employees make decisions about work, including discussing return-to-work options with their employer
  • providing specialist information (factsheets, books, CDs, etc.)
  • arranging an assessed course of therapy

Therapies can include:

  • counselling
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • specialist bereavement counselling
  • life coaching

Other lesser known specialist therapies can also be offered where appropriate, including eye movement desensitisation & reprocessing (EMDR); mindfulness; dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT); and cognitive analytical therapy (CAT).

Claimants gave their consent at the outset for medical information to be shared back with Canada Life which was beneficial as it allowed clinical discussions with Canada Life nurses and also facilitated discussion relevant to on-going claims or return-to-work management.


Based on these trials, Canada Life predicts that claims-resolutions can be dramatically improved with this service, significantly reducing the time of ongoing claims management. This is good for business, customers and has its base in good customer service. While the number of cases is too small to draw firm conclusions, early indications suggest RedArc’s early intervention and independent support from a qualified nurse can cut waiting times for therapy and counselling from up to six months down to just two or three weeks. Mental health problems are best dealt with as early as possible to avoid prolonged absence, so securing quicker help is beneficial for everyone.

From now on, claimants of Canada Life Group Income Protection for mental health conditions will be able to receive support from a specialist RedArc nurse when appropriate.

Christine Husbands, managing director, RedArc says:

“Third-party mental health support can make a huge difference, not only for the individual but there is a strong business case for the insurer too, in reducing the length of each claim, total claims overall, projection and management of claims funds.

“This trial was particularly successful due to the tripartite relationship we had with Canada Life and the individuals themselves. With successful communication between all parties, all claimants made good progress in improving their mental health and were better able to make judgements about their future and whether or not a return to the workplace was appropriate.

“Running a pilot scheme is a very pragmatic way for an insurer to really see the benefits of external support without initially committing fully to a programme. There is also an additional benefit that the pilot allows both the insurer and mental health provider to fine-tune the service-offering to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible when the service is rolled out fully.”