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Entrepreneurs’ mental health is declining, BDC’s new mental health pilot program wants to help change that

MONTREAL, January 31, 2024 – The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, today launched a new pilot program to provide entrepreneurs with easy access to mental health support.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that entrepreneurs need more mental health support. Today, we’re acting on their need for help. We’ve always been there to help their businesses grow, and now we’ll also make it easy for entrepreneurs to connect to services that help enhance their well-being,” said Sandra Odendahl, Senior Vice President and Head, Sustainability, Diversity and Partnerships at BDC.

In the program’s pilot phase, on a limited first-come-first-served basis, BDC will provide up to 550 clients with three hours of free virtual therapy through GreenShield Health, the health services division of GreenShield, a not-for-profit health and benefits company. By accessing the mental health offering and personalized matching tool, entrepreneurs will be able to easily connect with the therapist best suited to their needs. BDC’s program will also enable clients to continue receiving care at a discounted rate once their three free hours are used.

This pilot program was prompted by a BDC survey that revealed cost as entrepreneurs’ most significant barrier to seeking mental health support, followed by social discomfort, access, and limited awareness. BDC aims to help address these obstacles by offering a platform that is available anytime, anywhere, and providing support that is completely confidential.

The need for better access to mental health support in Canada is clear. BDC’s research indicates entrepreneurs’ mental health has been declining over the past three years. In BDC’s last survey, close to half (45%) of Canadian business owners reported mental health challenges, naming inflation and work-life balance as their main stress factors.

“We know that entrepreneurs face unique challenges that can create mental health issues. They are under a lot of pressure and are not always prone to prioritize their health or to ask for help. We want to be an ally and help make it easy to find that help,” added Sandra Odendahl. “As a development bank, we want to make mental health support more accessible and affordable for people who own or manage small and medium-sized businesses. Ultimately, our aim is to pave the way for a healthier and more sustainable business ecosystem.”

To find out more about BDC’s series of mental health studies, or for mental health and well-being resources, visit bdc.ca/wellbeing.

About BDC 

As Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, BDC is a partner of choice for all entrepreneurs looking to access the financing and advice they need to build their businesses and tackle the big challenges of our time. Our investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions to help grow the country’s most innovative firms. We are one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. For more information on BDC’s products and services and to consult free tools, templates and articles, visit bdc.ca or join BDC on social media

About GreenShield

GreenShield is an integrated health and benefits organization and the first organization in Canada to operate as a payer-provider— offering insurance, administering benefits, and paying claims as a ‘payer’ while offering health services such as mental health, pharmacy, and medical services as a ‘provider.’ Integrating both sides of the payer-provider equation enables GreenShield to simplify access to care, remove administrative barriers, and improve health outcomes for its customers.

GreenShield is uniquely structured as a not-for-profit social enterprise that reinvests its earnings and redeploys its services to support underserved Canadian communities via its social impact brand, GreenShield Cares. The company’s overarching goal is to generate $75 million of social impact investments to improve the lives of at least 1 million Canadians by 2025, with a focus on mental and oral health. As the industry’s noble challenger GreenShield continues to innovate, evolving its offerings and services to deepen its purpose of championing better health for all.

* GreenShield means, collectively, Green Shield Canada (GSC), Green Shield Association, and Green Shield Holdings Inc., which is the primary company that houses health services and benefits administration businesses, including Inkblot Therapy, Tranquility, BCH Consultants, NKS Health Canada, The Health Depot Pharmacy, Benecaid, and Computer Workware Inc. Green Shield Holdings Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the not-for-profit Green Shield Association.


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