GSC's Mindfulness Program is the industry’s first preventative, digital mental health support program. 

It will be available to every GSC plan member – at no cost.

The program is available via the Change4Life health portal, and is aimed at helping plan members manage their mental wellness as part of their overall health.

Plan members are encouraged to complete a series of six sessions at their own pace, with each session combining audio and video components, as well as on-screen education materials and a reflection workbook.

Want to know more? Watch this brief intro video...


Developed with the support of a team of mental health professionals, and using scientifically-proven research, the Mindfulness Program is based on the growing body of evidence demonstrating the real impact preventive strategies can have on mental health.

  • GSC's total annual spend on antidepressants was $45 million in 2016 - the largest spend across our book of business.
  • A study showed that it takes just 8 weeks of mindfulness practice to see increased gray matter in the hippocampus (important for learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion & introspection) and decreased gray matter in the amygdala (which plays a part in anxiety & stress). (Source)


  • At any one time, 13% of GSC's nearly 2 million plan members are taking anti-depressants.
  • Of that 13%, at least 80% either discontinued their treatment or were put on dosages too low to be anything more than a placebo.
  • Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Therapy have been shown to be equally effective as anti-depressant medications in both treating and preventing relapse of recurrent depression. (Source)

Read the Press Release...

This month, Green Shield Canada (GSC) is launching a custom, one-of-a-kind, digital mental health program to every single one of its’ plan members, for free. Why? Over the past two years, GSC has highlighted the worrisome trend of reliance on anti-depressants as our country's predominant first-line mental health therapy. While there is strong evidence of the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication for severe depression, GSC drug claims data displays both the widespread practice of over-prescribing them for patients with less severe illnesses, and the subsequent poor adherence to these drug therapies by patients. A study published by the Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience journal concludes that approximately 50% of patients do not adhere to these medications for a variety reasons

GSC has always believed that there must be better, more evidence-based strategies to help Canadians manage their mental health, and it is introducing one today. 

Curious? Get a sneak peek...

Wondering what this is all about? We'll show you! Here's a preview of the introduction video for the first session of the Mindfulness Program.


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that helps people approach stress, low mood and/or anxiety differently, so they can get more out of their day-to-day experiences and improve well-being.

It’s a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations – often through meditation.

Why mindfulness?

For the past couple of years, GSC has been sailing into uncharted waters by looking into the issue of mental health and its negative impact on both employee health and the downstream benefit claims costs. We’ve examined our claims data, consumed the best available research, and debated among ourselves.

Following this, our conclusion was that the current mental health system is one in which family physicians aren’t equipped with a full toolkit of ways to effectively treat and/or prevent mental health concerns.

That’s why, in an effort to chip away at this lack of treatment options, GSC is looking to bring more tools to the table by offering a variety of mental health programs to our plan members. The Mindfulness Program on Change4life, which we’re bringing to our plan members at no cost to them or to plan sponsors, is the latest of these initiatives to seek out better options for mental health treatment and prevention.

How does the mindfulness program work?

GSC’s Mindfulness Program guides plan members through the techniques and concepts behind mindfulness. Plan members are encouraged to complete a series of six sessions at their own pace, with each session combining audio and video components, as well as on-screen education materials and a reflection workbook.

The program is available via the Change4Life health management portal. That means that not only will plan members earn points as they move through the Mindfulness Program, but since Change4Life is available via the GSC on the Go mobile app, they can learn about and practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime from their cell phone or tablet.

Who can access the program?

The Mindfulness Program is available to all GSC plan members who have access to the Change4Life health management portal. There are links to the program from the plan members’ Change4Life dashboard, the Learn & Earn page, and from the Small Steps Action plan, should a plan member’s health risk assessment (HRA) results identify mental health as a priority area.