As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), LV= is highlighting the support services available for members struggling with mental health issues.
LV= has revealed that claims for mental health account for 29% of income protection claims.
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is ‘Kindness’, fostering a sense of community and openness for those living with mental health problems. According to the Global Web Index, 54% of UK adults said that their mental health has worsened during the Covid-19 crisis. This concern is widespread, as the biggest fear for 30% of people is their mental health deteriorating during the epidemic.
Some 7% of adults in the UK sought mental health support through telehealth services. But a Mind survey found that one in four said they had trouble contacting a GP or community mental health team as face-to-face appointments stopped in recent weeks.
LV= provides additional support services for members without the need to make a claim. LV= Doctor Services includes medical advice from a UK GP available remotely through the Square Health app or over the phone, while the Remote GP service has been extended to provide 24-hour support for people struggling to get appointments with a medical expert. During March and April 2020, there was a 16% rise in the number of members under the age of 40 using Remote GP services.
LV= helps those struggling with mental health by arranging counselling and back to work services with rehabilitation partners Innovate Healthcare. In 2019, 33% of rehab referrals were to request mental health support.
LV= is the only provider to include automatic reviewable exclusions for Income Protection customers, allowing those with pre-existing conditions to remove them after a certain time. Mental illness is the most common condition to have an automatic reviewable exclusion, can be removed after up to three years of no further issues.
Debbie Kennedy, protection director at LV=, said: “During this time of uncertainty and anxiety that the COVID-19 lockdown has caused, it has never been more important to look after our mental health. As an industry there is still work to do in addressing the obstacles that people feel when openly talking about mental health issues, but LV= is committed to ensure that mental health issues are treated no differently to physical conditions.
“Up to one in four people experience a mental health problem such as anxiety and depression every week, and there is a strong correlation between financial health and mental health.
“We believe that protection should work beyond simply paying out a claim and we are increasing the support for our members from day one. By giving better access to these life-changing services, we can equip those living with mental health pressures with the right tools for recovery.”