Median ROI for mental health programs can add up to $2.18 for every dollar spent: report

‘There’s both an economic and moral imperative for employers to take action’

Canadian companies that invest in mental health programs can see a median yearly return on investment (ROI) of $2.18 for every dollar spent, according to a new report.

In looking at three years’ worth of historical data from seven organizations, Deloitte Canada found programs are more likely to deliver greater returns as they mature, rather than yielding immediate financial benefits.

“There’s both an economic and moral imperative for Canadian employers to take action, recognizing that the cost to the Canadian economy of poor mental health in our workplaces is estimated to be $50 billion annually,” says Anthony Viel, CEO of Deloitte Canada.

“The findings from this report provide a business case that is impossible to ignore. Organizations committed to delivering and measuring impactful employee wellness programs are creating healthier workplaces and seeing investments in their people’s mental health pay off.”

Spending on mental health among the study’s participants has increased over the last three years. Engagement campaigns and workplace events have gone up 438 per cent, found Deloitte, while training for employees has gone up 182 per cent.

Also on the rise is spending on the implementation of Canada’s National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (by 35 per cent) and psychological care benefits (up 30 per cent).

On average, mental health issues account for 30 to 40 per cent of short-term disability (STD) claims and 30 per cent of long-term disability (LTD) claims in Canada, with the prevalence of mental health claims climbing by 0.5 to one per cent every year, says Deloitte.

Among the study’s participants, 22 of 1,000 STD claims in 2018 were for mental health, while 10 of every 1,000 LTD claims were related to mental health.