Canadian workers have traditionally relied on their primary care physicians and other public healthcare resources as a first line of defence against and treatment of physical illnesses. Today, more employees are also turning to these professionals to address mental health issues like anxiety, stress and depression — while two thirds of Canadians suffering avoid seeking treatment for mental health concerns at all.
This situation is especially challenging for workers in remote and rural job sites, which present numerous barriers to obtaining timely, structured mental healthcare. Employers and owners must contend with the potential fallout of this situation, including absenteeism, productivity losses and possible OHS risks. In fact, Canadian employers lose $6.3 billion in productivity annually due to mental health-related absenteeism and presenteeism.
Fortunately, technology has delivered an ideal solution: virtual care.
Why virtual care?
Platforms like Medisys On-Demand harness the power of wireless technology to open two-way communication, including text messaging and videoconferencing, between Canadians and mental healthcare professionals.
Consider these compelling reasons to incorporate a virtual care solution to support workers in safety-sensitive, rural and remote job sites such as oil rigs, construction sites, mines and quarries, and remote Northern communities:
1) Enabling access to mental health resources from any location
Virtual care platforms are an extremely efficient way to deliver mental healthcare. By eliminating the need for both parties to be in the same room for consultations, these solutions allow workers in remote/rural job sites to easily access the mental health resources they require — regardless of their location. Virtual mental healthcare professionals are available 24/7.
Workers can contact them whenever it’s convenient, eliminating the need to take time off work or travel to a clinic for in-person consults.
Learn more about the benefits of virtual care for employers, barriers to adoption, return on investment, and more.
2) Eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness
Despite growing public awareness initiatives, there’s still a great deal of misunderstanding and fear associated with mental illness. This perceived stigma prevents many people from seeking help; instead, they often suffer in silence, exacerbating their conditions and delaying treatment. Working in a remote/rural location also means being removed from family and support systems, which can lead to further isolation and stress.
Conducting mental wellness appointments via video or phone gives patients more control and privacy, and can help eliminate the fear of seeking help. Patients are therefore more likely to reach out to mental health resources through virtual care solutions than to book in-person appointments for the same issue.
3) Providing early, targeted support to patients
For people living with mental illness, it’s crucial to obtain early support before episodes of depression, anxiety or stress worsen. Unfortunately, this is often difficult in remote/rural locations. Moreover, factors such as isolation from loved ones, harsh environmental conditions, long work shifts, and a lack of social connection can pose a serious threat to mental health.
Through virtual care solutions, workers can get the early support and help they need to prevent their symptoms from worsening and potentially affecting their work.
Virtual care also offers secure, private messaging and file-sharing between patients and practitioners. This is both a convenient way for patients to access resources between appointments, and also serves to strengthen the provider-patient relationship — a crucial element in supporting those living with mental illness.
4) Simplifying care with the power of technology
Traditional face-to-face mental health services are struggling to meet demand across the country. With over 96% of Canadians under the age of 45 already using the Internet every day, it makes sense to access counselling and mental health resources in this way. The only support required is a stable Internet connection, which many remote/rural job sites already have, and a wireless device.
For employers, addressing mental health issues in the workplace is crucial to maintaining a harmonious, productive and profitable job site. By leveraging the power of virtual care solutions like Medisys On-Demand, employers can help workers in rural/ remote job sites maintain — or regain — their mental wellness and thrive on the job.
Click here to learn more about how Medisys On-Demand can support your workplace mental wellness initiatives.