Absenteeism and mental health: success factors and key players in recovery

Despite the prevention efforts of employers and insurers aimed at promoting the well-being of employees, a work stoppage is sometimes necessary to allow a person to recover their health. In this situation, the employee can not only count on the financial security provided by his salary insurance, but also on the expertise of benevolent partners.

An increasing trend was seen in 2021 for mental health-related disabilities1 . “Comparing the data from December 2021 to that of 2019, we observed a peak of around 19% to 20% in terms of short-term disabilities related to this problem and 16% in terms of long-term disabilities. reveals Julie Séguin, Coaching Advisor and Expert Services in Salary Insurance and Disability Management at Desjardins Assurances. According to her, this situation can however change quickly and it is therefore not possible to confirm the trends in 2022 for the moment.

Success factors
An employee who must be absent due to mental health problems will inevitably face difficult times when they will need support. If he has coverage under a group insurance plan, he can count on the support of his insurer as a partner in his recovery in the event of disability. At Desjardins Insurance, several success factors are favored for a successful return to health and work, including the following:
• Benevolence, listening to the employee and the ability to act preventively;
• Open communication that promotes collaboration between partners;
• Commitment and mobilization of all key players;
• Personalization of return-to-health solutions;
• The return to work prepared in concert with all the key players;

Key players
Various partners will promote a return to work after an absence due to mental health problems. “The employee, first of all, is at the heart of the recovery process. His health and well-being are the priorities of all the other key players who are actively collaborating. Throughout his absence, he will be encouraged to keep in touch with them and to express his concerns transparently,” explains Julie Séguin. In addition to the employee, these stakeholders play various roles:

1. The employer
By showing respect and caring towards the employee, the manager or the human resources team, depending on the situation, promotes a healthy work environment and conditions conducive to a safe and sustainable return.

2. The treatment team
The doctor and the various therapists remain attentive to the patient, set up a treatment plan and carry out an appropriate follow-up. The team works with the insurer to develop solutions to promote a prompt and sustainable return to health and work.

3. The insurer
Represented by disability management specialists, the insurer ensures the financial security of the employee as well as the sound management of the group insurance plan offered by his employer. In particular, he assesses the return-to-work prognosis, develops a tailor-made plan to support the employee in his recovery and establishes a concerted reintegration objective while respecting his functional abilities.

“As a partner, we sincerely want to help our members and customers get healthy. In addition to listening to them, we adopt an empathetic approach to allow us to support them well and to always work in their interest,” says Ms. Séguin.

proven benefits
In short, these key players complement each other to form a partnership at the heart of which is the employee. “When all the partners play their part, everyone wins! One of the main advantages for the employee is that his financial health is maintained during his absence, which promotes his peace of mind. The employer, for his part, benefits from a planned return to work under optimal conditions. The treating team then benefits from an overall view of the patient’s situation. Finally, the insurer has a positive impact on the health and well-being of the employee,” summarizes Julie Séguin.

To find out more about the flexible and customized group insurance solutions offered by Desjardins Insurance, go to

1 Source: actuarial analysis of data from the Desjardins Insurance portfolio.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company.

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