Aviva's in-house rehabilitation team has broadened its offering of a mental health claims service to customers with Group Income Protection.
Following the accreditation of two of Aviva's rehabilitation case managers as mental health first aid instructors by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), Aviva's entire in-house rehabilitation team has undertaken training in mental health first aid.
Aviva is the first health insurer to join the growing number of organisations in the UK that have undertaken the specialist training.
The training for the team will support an in-house clinical specialist psychiatric nurse and an in-house clinical physiotherapist, as well as a team of dedicated rehabilitation case managers.
Aviva said mental health conditions account for the largest number of Group Income Protection claims and rehabilitation support from Aviva (21% of claims to date in 2013), and the insurer has seen the volume of claims for mental health increase by 250% over the last five years.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, an estimated 10.4 million working days were lost across 2011/12 because of stress and mental health issues.
Steve Bridger, head of group risk for Aviva, says, "Supporting our Group Income Protection customers by helping them to manage mental health issues in the workplace more effectively is very important.
"We continue to see mental health being the largest cause of absence and, from talking to our customers, it is also the hardest absence for them to manage.
"We therefore felt it valuable to invest further in our in-house rehabilitation specialists and with the whole team now trained in Mental Health First Aid, we can offer our customers expertise and access to the right specialist mental health support to meet their needs."
Mental Health First Aiders are trained to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems and the factors that influence mental wellbeing.
Whilst providing initial help by advising on crisis intervention, they are also skilled in guiding the person towards the most appropriate specialist help and providing on-going support throughout the rehabilitation process.