Mental Health & Medavie

How we’re helping to improve the mental wellbeing of Canadians

At a time when there’s more awareness than ever of Canadians’ struggles with mental heath, bridges are being built to provide better, faster access to care.

To mark CMHA Mental Health Week from May 2-8, we’re sharing some of the innovative ways those bridges are being put in place to help improve the mental wellbeing of Canadians ― online, in person and on wheels.

Even before the pandemic, two in three Canadians with mental health concerns weren’t getting the expert help they needed because of barriers like lengthy wait times, geographic location and stigma. Mental health has always been a top priority for Medavie, and more so over the last few years.

Through comprehensive benefit packages, mobile integrated health, community paramedicine programs, home health services and more, we’re working to dismantle those barriers to care by bringing it to Canadians in their homes and in their communities.

Connected Care

As the insurer and manager of health benefits for close to 1-in-10 Canadians, we partner with industry experts who offer fully tested digital health solutions to ensure members have timely access to quality care. A key part of this approach is the suite of services offered through Connected Care for prevention and treatment.

Available exclusively to plan members, services include:

  • Live and Digital Therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Personalized Medicine (pharmacogenetic testing)
  • Online Doctors (virtual doctor visits)
  • A mindfulness app that helps build mental resilience

We also know that underrepresented Canadians are disproportionately affected by mental health. In response, we’ve introduced inclusive benefits like our Gender Affirmation Benefit, a flexible coverage option that provides members with support following gender transitioning surgery.

Medavie Foundation

As a non-for-profit association, we don’t have shareholders. Instead, we proudly invest in communities to help address some of Canada’s most pressing health care challenges. Through our Medavie Foundation, we focus on some of the most pressing health challenges facing Canadians, including increasing access to youth mental health services to enable youth to address individual challenges including anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions. Through the Foundation, we also invest in increasing access to supports and services for first responders and their families impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress.

PEI’s Mobile Mental Health Service

As a national leader in primary health care solutions, we are proud to administer a new mobile mental health program that provides residents of Prince Edward Island with 24/7 access to mental health support. The program, created in collaboration with provincial stakeholders, provides a toll-free line Islanders can call for 24/7 support, along with three mobile response units staffed with interdisciplinary teams that provide mental health services including crisis response.

While program is still in its early stage, it is already having measurable impacts. In its first quarter of operation, Prince Edward Island saw a 10% reduction in mental health and addictions-related admissions. During that period, the service’s integrated team, comprised of professionals from Health PEI, police services and Island EMS, answered more than 1,300 calls and visited nearly 200 Islanders at home to provide on-site care.

Medavie Health Services West (MHS West)

In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, our MHS West community paramedics provide services to individuals experiencing a mental health illness and/or substance abuse, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Upon request, a rapid-response vehicle can be dispatched to treat someone in crisis. Working with community stakeholder teams, staff provide support and patient-family centered care to individuals and connect them with further resources in the community.

Also in Saskatchewan, MHS West operates two community wellness buses serving local communities. One is a mobile clinic that delivers direct access to care, including mental health support, to over 15,000 people living in seven First Nation communities. The first of its kind in Canada, the Saskatoon Tribal Health Bus is staffed and operated by paramedics, along with a dentist, dental assistant, and mental health addictions worker.

The second operation, the Saskatoon Health Bus, provides primary care services to patients that are geographically, socially, economically and/or culturally isolated. The bus has won six national awards for its unique delivery of health care to Saskatoon’s vulnerable citizens.

Addressing Chronic Stress

The need to address Canadians’ mental health challenges with accessible and affordable services has only grown through the pandemic. A study by the Canadian Mental Health Association published in March 2022 found that two years of pandemic-related stressors have taken a toll on Canadians, with nearly half (46%) stressed or worried about coping with uncertainty. Over a third (37%) experienced a decline in their mental health since the onset of the pandemic due to chronic stress and almost one in five (17%) Canadians felt they needed help with their mental health during the pandemic but didn’t receive it. The top reasons were they didn’t know how or where to get it (36%); couldn’t afford to pay (36%); or, couldn’t get access (29%).

We’ve responded by escalating the collaborative, holistic and innovative approach we have always taken to mental health care. We’ve forged new partnerships, invested in new technologies and applied new thinking to make sure Canadians do receive the best, most immediate care possible for their stress, anxiety or depression ― whether they be in remote Saskatchewan or rural PEI.

Learn More

If poor mental health is affecting your day-to-day living, don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for professional help. Review your personal benefit plan or talk to your human resources representative about the services and supports that are available.

If you are a member of a Medavie Blue Cross plan, visit our dedicated mental health resource page to view the options available to you, including our Online Doctors and Digital Therapy services, My Good Health wellness portal and Employee and Family Assistance Program, InConfidence.

Check online to get more information, find tools and resources and locate community-based services, including the Canadian Mental Health Association in your area.

Our Mission is to Improve the Wellbeing of Canadians.

Medavie is a health company that oversees Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services. Together, we’re bringing Canadians better health and access to care.