News releases

April 27, 2022

Mental health in Quebec: Sun Life announces $1.1 million investment

Funding to support organizations that assist families, workers and marginalized communities

MONTRÉAL, April 27, 2022 /CNW/ - Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) announced it is investing $1.1 million to support mental health services for families, workers and marginalized communities in Quebec. This investment is one of Sun Life's many actions to build mentally healthy and resilient communities. The funding will support four organizations over the next three years in their work to develop and maintain targeted mental health programs. It will allow them to expand access to care and reach more people through awareness and prevention.

The investment will support the following organizations:

"We're committed to investing in mental health to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for Quebec," said Robert Dumas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Quebec. "This investment is one of many initiatives supporting mental health services for everyone in the province. The new funding will help these four organizations strengthen mental health awareness, prevention and treatment services for more vulnerable populations. We're confident that, by joining together with our partners, our efforts will provide meaningful support to the people of Quebec, youth and adults alike."

The mental health struggle: Sun Life is part of the solution

Sun Life's actions on the mental health front align with its purpose of helping people live healthier lives by ensuring as many people as possible have access to the resources and support they need.

Sun Life's actions are focused on three key areas:

(1)     Supporting employee well-being in Quebec and Canada with mental health initiatives

As the largest provider of group benefits in the country, Sun Life is committed to improving access to care and helping employers in Quebec and Canada create mentally healthy workplaces. Sun Life has launched several initiatives to empower Clients to take charge of their health, including:

  • Sun Life Health, a new business unit focused on empowering people take charge of their health no matter where they are in their health journey.

  • Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue, available to Group Benefits Clients with extended health care benefits. Through a strategic partnership with Dialogue, over 500,000 Sun Life Clients and their family can use the virtual service to connect directly with a health care professional for both their physical and mental health needs.

  • Stress Management and Well-Being – Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue, aims to stop many common mental health issues from becoming more serious. All Clients whose benefits include Lumino Health Virtual Care have 24/7 access to a care team that includes psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, doctors, nurses, and medical specialists. The program provides immediate and comprehensive support with an unlimited number of sessions to support Clients' full recovery.

  • Mental Health Coach, a service available to some Sun Life Group Benefits Clients. The service uses data analytics to identify Clients who are at risk of developing a mental health issue. The coach then proactively reaches out to guide Clients to the right resources and support, helping them make the best use of their benefits plan.

  • Lumino Health, Canada's largest network of health care providers, free to everyone in Quebec and Canada. Through Lumino Health, people can find health-care providers and book appointments, learn about the latest in health and explore new health resources.

  • Mental Health Strategy Toolkit, a free toolkit that guides employers through a five-step process to build a workplace mental health strategy that delivers meaningful and lasting results.

(2)     Mobilizing the business community around mental health

From the earliest days of the pandemic, Sun Life Canada and Sun Life Quebec presidents Jacques Goulet and Robert Dumas have been thought leaders mobilizing the business community around the importance of prioritizing mental health. Embedding mental health in every business strategy helps to promote employee well-being and healthy workplaces. They have discussed mental health with the business community in Quebec and have spoken on the topic on numerous occasions.

In November 2020, Jacques Goulet brought together 70 presidents, CEOs and C-suite leaders to discuss the mental health crisis in Canada. The forum highlighted the important role of CEOs and presidents in taking action and supporting employees' mental health. Sun Life has also been presenting sponsor of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Business Leaders' Summit in 2021 and 2022. The summit brings together leaders from across Canada to elevate mental health as a workplace priority. Jacques is also a Campaign Cabinet Member with CAMH, one of the world's leading mental health research centres. 

(3)     Investing in mental health foundations and organizations

For years, Sun Life has supported foundations and organizations whose mission is to support mental well-being in our communities. Today's $1.1 million investment follows on other recently announced commitments, including:

  • $1 million donation to Kids Help Phone to support Indigenous youth mental health. Announced in the fall of 2021, this investment will expand Brighter Days, an Indigenous Wellness Program, across the country.

  • Mental health funding announced in February 2020 for teens in the Québec City area, in partnership with former mayor Régis Labeaume. The funding supports increased mental health awareness efforts, early detection programs and greater access to mental health services. By May 2021, nearly 2,000 Quebec City youth had used the services from the four agencies supported by the donation, including Fondation Jeunes en Tête, which manages the fund.
A daunting challenge

The pandemic has worsened the mental health crisis, and the need to support mental health in Quebec and Canada has never been greater.

Even before the pandemic, mental health issues were the leading cause of workplace disability. Each week, 500,000 employees miss work due to mental health. Mental illness is rising sharply, increasing 27% from 2014 to 2019. In 2020, mental health made up 35% of Sun Life's long-term disability claims, more than double all cancer-related claims.

Forty percent of people report worsening mental health since the onset of the pandemic. Younger generations are no exception, with the impacts likely to be felt for years to come.

That's why investing in mental health programs is vital. Supporting the needs and well-being of vulnerable populations is key to a healthy and sustainable future for Quebec and Canada. To learn more about how Sun Life is making a difference in the community, read the 2021 Sustainability Report.

Sun Life in the community 
Sun Life is committed to building sustainable, healthier communities for life. Community wellness is an important part of its sustainability commitment. By actively supporting the communities in which Sun Life lives and works, the organization can help build a positive environment for Clients, employees, advisors, and shareholders. Its philanthropic support focuses on health, with an emphasis on diabetes awareness, prevention, and care initiatives. Mental health is also a key priority, with support for programs and organizations with an emphasis on building resilience and coping skills.

Sun Life also partners with sports properties in key markets to further our commitment to healthy and active living. Its employees and advisors take great pride in volunteering more than 16,000 hours each year and contribute to making life brighter for individuals and families across Canada.

Learn more about Sun Life in the community.

Media contact:

Mylène Bélanger
Public Relations
T. 438-341-3884

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Canada