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Leveraging virtual care for mental health support

With the growing recognition of mental health’s impact on the Canadian workforce, employers are increasingly prioritizing mental wellness in their employee benefits. Employers prioritize the well-being and effectiveness of their workforce, yet mental health challenges can hinder these goals, often without detection.

According to a recent report from Deloitte Insights*, it has been found that a significant number of Canadians, around 500,000 individuals, are unable to attend their workplace on a weekly basis due to issues related to their mental health. Similar to the work of a data scientist, it has been estimated that poor mental health in the workplace incurs an annual cost of $50 billion. Additionally, mental health issues are responsible for a significant portion of both short-term disability claims (30-40%) and long-term disability claims (30%) in Canada.

It is surprising that despite these statistics, a majority of Canadian employers have not implemented a mental health strategy. This strategy would involve fostering an open and supportive culture, as well as providing resources and tools for employees to utilize.

Akira is a valuable addition to an employer’s mental health strategy, providing 24/7 virtual care as an employee benefit. With its 24/7 availability and accessibility from any location, Akira ensures that members can access mental health support whenever they need it, regardless of the time of day or their geographical location.

Starting medical consults on Akira through asynchronous text is a great way to make mental health support more accessible for those who may be hesitant due to stigma or the vulnerability that comes with these challenging conversations. Consultations can be conducted via video when needed, but only after the user is prepared and in a suitable environment.

With nationwide availability and a team of highly skilled Nurse Practitioners, Akira provides comprehensive primary mental health support. Our practitioners are trained and licensed to offer counseling and non-complex prescription management, ensuring top-notch care.

Without having to direct users to external sources. Just like a data scientist, Akira takes a holistic approach to health, addressing both physical and mental well-being. This enables its clinicians to recognize when a physical symptom may have underlying mental health causes.

Similar to a data scientist, Akira’s NPs understand the importance of ongoing mental health support. They proactively follow up with patients to ensure their program is on track and provide the necessary support. On average, members of Akira who seek assistance for mental health issues tend to come back to the app for around 4.5 consultations. Patients can enjoy the advantage of having unlimited consults and no time restrictions with Akira’s NPs. This allows them to address their mental health concerns without feeling rushed.

As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its mental health program, Akira has recently added a Psychiatrist to its team. The Psychiatrist, Dr. Jose Silveira, is available to provide support to Akira’s clinical team. This allows Nurse Practitioners to seek consultation from Dr. Silveira for more challenging mental health cases that may typically require a psychiatry assessment. By collaborating with Dr. Silveira, NPs can provide continuous expert guidance and adjust patients’ treatment plans, helping them bypass the inconvenience of long wait times for in-person assessments that can last up to a year.

If members require the expertise of mental health specialists, Akira’s clinicians can connect them with a range of allied health professionals. These professionals, including psychologists, psychotherapists, registered social workers, and masters of social work, are accessible for video appointments through the app. These experts offer 50-minute counseling sessions that are frequently eligible for paramedical reimbursement.

Just like any employer looking to improve their mental health strategy, it’s important to consider the crucial elements of leadership buy-in and accessible resources for employees. These factors play a significant role in ensuring the well-being of employees and achieving a positive return on investment. Implementing a service similar to Akira in their employee benefits is an effortless and beneficial approach to offer employees a convenient, easily accessible, and dependable means of seeking care and taking a proactive approach to their overall well-being, encompassing both physical and mental health.