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We must invest in creating mentally healthy workplaces now

Sun Life urges Canadian companies to make mental health a c-suite business priority

TORONTO, Oct. 5, 2020 /CNW/ - Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10th, Sun Life is urging Canadian companies to join them in creating mentally healthy workplaces by deepening investments in workplace mental health support and elevating mental health as a priority for the c-suite.  

As Canadians continue to navigate COVID-19 and its related challenges, a recent Sun Life survey revealed nearly 60 per cent of Canadians say their mental health has been negatively impacted. As part of Canada's holistic recovery, Sun Life and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) are urging companies to take action now. 

"Canada was already facing a mental health crisis prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has amplified the crisis, and poses potential mental health impacts for years to come," says Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Canada and Lumino Health. "To restart Canada's economy successfully, we need to do everything we can – as leaders – to empower our workforces in managing their wellbeing and creating healthier work environments. We can't wait for the pandemic to be over to invest in mental health support. We know Human Resource professionals are already focused on mental health. To accelerate meaningful and sustainable action, c-suite leaders need to make this a priority."    

Making mental health a priority at the c-suite – Sun Life Webinar and Annual Business Leaders Summit  

To learn more about building mentally healthy workplaces, Sun Life will host a webinar on November 30th, 2020 for c-suite executives. The webinar will include a panel discussion with Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, CAMH Foundation, Donna Ferguson, Psychologist, CAMH, and Angie Elliot, mental health advocate, Licensed Funeral Director and former CAMH patient. The webinar will be moderated by Jacques Goulet with a keynote welcome from Deborah Gillis

"The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way the world works and business has become anything but 'usual'. But one thing remains clear: Employee mental health is still one of the most important issues facing workplaces today," says Deborah Gillis. "As we navigate the future of work, business leaders have an opportunity – and a responsibility – to prioritize workplace mental health and help each and every Employee reach their full potential. Creating this kind of change takes strong leadership, teamwork and commitment. We hope that more organizations will join CAMH and Sun Life in creating mentally healthy and psychologically safe workplaces across the country."

To elevate mental health in Canada as a priority for all c-suite executives on an ongoing basis, Sun Life is pleased to partner with CAMH in hosting an annual Business Leaders Mental Health Summit. The inaugural Summit will be scheduled in 2021.   

In the meantime, businesses are encouraged to download CAMH's Workplace Mental Health Playbook for Business Leaders for research-informed recommendations on creating mentally healthier workplaces.

Employee mental wellness a key to Sun Life's Strategy

"Supporting the mental health of our own Employees has been a focus for Sun Life and the pandemic has deepened that commitment," says Jacques Goulet. "Ensuring every Employee is able to bring their best selves to work is critical to our business and sustainability strategies."

Sun Life's mental health strategy includes leading mental health benefits for Employees, a focus on data and mandatory mental health training for leaders. Sun Life conducts regular Employee pulse surveys to check in and inform the mental health strategy on an ongoing basis, adapting to evolving Employee needs. In the most recent survey, more than 90 per cent of Sun Life Employees say they have confidence senior leaders will prioritize their mental health and wellbeing. 

To further support Employee wellness during the pandemic, Sun Life has initiated a number of innovative actions. For example, Sun Life has doubled personal emergency days from five to 10, offered three wellness days, enabled flexible work schedules, mandated lunch hours and Fridays as 'meeting free' and provided Employees access to Sun Life's team of in-house psychologists through regular webinars.

As part of its efforts to help Clients and Canadians live healthier lives, Sun Life offers Lumino Health, a digital platform with free health resources and other tools to empower Canadians in navigating their health journey.

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, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,122 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.  

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

About CAMH
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Media Relations Contacts:

Sun Life
Connie Soave
AVP, Corporate Communications
T. 416-407-5721
connie.soave@sunlife.com

CAMH
Hayley Chazan
Manager, Media Strategy
T. 416-452-6530
hayley.chazan@camh.ca

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

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