News releases

January 30, 2023

Mental health drug claims skyrocket among young Canadians

Data from the pandemic shows almost 25% increase for those under 30

Sun Life Logo (CNW Group/Sun Life Financial Canada)

TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2023 /CNW/ - It is no surprise the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of Canadians. Yet new Sun Life data shows just how impacted young people have been. Mental health drug claims between 2019 and 2021 skyrocketed among young Canadians. For those 30 and under, drug claims to treat mental disorders increased 24%. Adults between 30 and 39 years of age also experienced a rise in claims at 13%. In total, 16% of Sun Life's total drug claims in 2021 were for mental disorders. There was also a 51% increase in mental health paramedical claims for people under 35.

These trends were identified using Sun Life data, including those from Sun Life's Designed for Health report. The report highlights trends impacting disability claims across Sun Life's plan member base, which consists of millions of Canadians.

While these statistics may seem alarming, they could signal an increase in awareness and discussion around mental health issues and seeking support. This may be helping to break the stigma and encouraging people to seek treatment for their mental health.

"Having open and supportive conversations around mental health is a critical first step. Research shows the severity and duration of mental disorders are reduced the sooner people access care," said Dr. Sam Mikail, Director, Mental Health Solutions, Sun Life. "When it comes to mental health treatment, there is no one-size-fits all approach. Getting the right treatment at the right time from the right practitioner is key, whether it's working with your family doctor, a psychologist or your Employee Assistance Program at work."

Sun Life's Designed for Health report shows mental disorders continue to be the main driver of disability claims. Over half of all disability claims for those under 44 years old are for mental disorders. Quicker recoveries and better long-term outcomes are often seen by those with early access to care.

"The need for mental health support is huge and continues to grow. We have an important role to play and are working to provide access to quality treatment through workplace benefit plans across Canada," said Marie-Chantal Côté, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life. "We've launched several innovative solutions to help employers support employees with their mental health. From new programs and partnerships to digital tools and resources, we are committed to tackling the mental health crisis head on."

Sun Life's innovative health solutions help Clients wherever they are on their health journeys. Some of the mental health solutions offered include Mental Health Coach provided by CloudMD, a mental health toolkit for employers, and Lumino Health Virtual Care Stress Management and Well-Being program and Employee Assistance Program powered by Dialogue.

Learn more about Sun Life's commitment to mental health:

About Sun Life 

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing asset management, wealth, insurance and health solutions to individual and institutional 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 September 30, 2022, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1.27 trillion. For more information please visit

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

Media Relations Contact:
Megan Hawkins
Manager, Corporate Communications

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada