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Comfortably nestled at home on her apartment balcony, Isabelle Santos had her first therapy session. Using the digital mental health platform Inkblot by GreenShield Health – provided by her employer, Cineplex – she answered a series of questions designed to match her to the right therapist. After choosing the best fit – a 98-per-cent score – she met with her counsellor face-to-face on video and they talked.

“I grew up in a very Asian household where you didn’t talk about your issues so you wouldn’t be a burden to others,” says Santos, 22, who is a supervisor at The Rec Room. “I put up walls but realized that’s not how I want to live my life – pretending I’m okay all the time. I want to talk to the people I care about. If I’m sad, I’m going to tell you and we can work through it together.”

Santos said it felt good – “refreshing” – to let it all out after holding back for so long. She had been intrigued by the idea of therapy before, but never actually sought it out or knew where to look until Cineplex offered mental health services as part of its employee assistance program (EAP).

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Velarde underscores the company's commitment to its millennial and Gen Z employees by providing valuable online resources that enhance their well-being and contribute to a strong workplace culture.Thomas Bollmann

Providing the right support for all employees became a top priority for Cineplex after the cinema chain was hit hard by the pandemic. Rommel Velarde, vice-president of Total Rewards, says the various provincial mandates on vaccination, masking, distancing and cleanliness created stress for its over 12,000 employees. With guest behaviours also changing, occasional friction between guests and employees was also experienced, creating further anxiety.

“One of the many reasons why Cineplex decided to partner with GreenShield Health last year is because of its digital mental health solutions,” says Velarde. “Employees can download the app or access it on their computers, tablets or phones, so it’s easy to connect. Another critical point was having the ability for the first time to include our part-time millennial and Gen Z employees, who make up about 90 per cent of our workforce.”

It was also important to Cineplex that GreenShield was founded on the belief that all Canadians deserve equal opportunity to health care and support. As a not-for-profit, GreenShield puts that purpose into action by reinvesting their earnings and self-funding the deployment of their wholly-owned health services to support underserved and marginalized communities. The company is on a mission to give back $75-million and help one million Canadians by 2025.

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GreenShield tailors well-being programs to the unique needs of Cineplex employees, emphasizing accessibility and support for young workers.Supplied

Harriet Ekperigin, vice-president of mental health at GreenShield Health, says they work very hard to understand the unique well-being challenges of each client’s workforce and tailor programming to those needs.

“With Cineplex, we knew most of their employees were working part-time and that many were students and part of younger generations,” says Ekperigin. “Offering a convenient, digital-first solution their employees could access on-the-go was vital in driving engagement. We work carefully to build well-being programs that meet employees where they’re at to drive better engagement and health outcomes.”

Additionally, GreenShield Health offers support for life transitions, including advice from career coaches, legal experts and financial advisors.

In order to curb climbing rates of burnout among young workers and help unlock their full potential, companies need to be proactive about providing healthy work-life balance and access to high quality, inclusive mental health support.”

-Harriet Ekperigin, vice-president of mental health, GreenShield Health

“For many of our employees, Cineplex is their first job,” says Velarde. “These additional resources, which they can access online, relate to their overall well-being and are very popular with our millennial and Gen Z employees. When we hire employees, we ensure they understand the importance we place on a strong workplace culture and that we care about them, which is in line with our core value of teamwork.”

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GreenShield’s first-of-its-kind integrated health and benefits platform provides workforces with easy-to-access, innovative care to meet their well-being needs.Adobe Stock

With anxiety and stress among the top concerns reported by Gen Z and millennial employees, mental health support has become a must-have for many organizations.

According to a 2022 Deloitte survey of 22,000 workers from across the globe, 46 per cent of Gen Z employees feel anxious and stressed out at work all or most of the time, while 39 per cent of millennials felt the same way. “This is data we need to pay close attention to,” says Ekperigin. “Many Gen Zers entered the workforce at a time of chaos, learning a new role while navigating the pandemic, uncertain economic times and new modes of work simultaneously. In order to curb climbing rates of burnout among young workers and help unlock their full potential, companies need to be proactive about providing healthy work-life balance and access to high quality, inclusive mental health support.”

Santos says because of her therapy experience with GreenShield Health, she’s been able to have conversations at work with her manager about how she’s feeling, something she couldn’t have done before.

“That’s why it’s so important to have GreenShield Health’s counselling close by,” says Santos, who is continuing her sessions. “If you can do [therapy] in your room and match up with a counsellor for a little chat, it’s such a big step. It’s amazing you can have a counselling session at home rather than going to an office and waiting there, and then taking transit home after this really deep talk with someone. I love it!”

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with GreenShield. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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