Friends Life, part of the Aviva Group, is now offering counselling and carer support services to customers taking out protection cover.
The services are available to customers taking out any Friends Life Protect+ critical illness, life or income protection policy from 1st September 2015.
Customers facing bereavement, work-related stress or the breakdown of a relationship are able to call a 24 hour counselling service for some support at any time during the term of their policy.
The service is also available to their partner and any children who are aged over 18.
Where appropriate, the service provides access to qualified counsellors experienced in a wide range of mental wellbeing issues who will work with the customer or member of their immediate family to identify strategies and resources to help them.
Customers will be able to choose a face-to-face or telephone based appointment if their case manager refers them, with up to six 50 minute sessions available per circumstance.
To complement the introduction last year of Friends Life's market-first Family Carer Benefit for income protection customers, a specialist telephone based carer support service will be available to all new protection customers who provide care for a loved one.
The 24 hour, 365 days a year service is available to customers regardless of who they are providing care for.
Specialists offer support with all aspects of being a carer, such as general counselling, educational support and pre-screened qualified referrals, as well as offering resources to help carers cope more effectively.
Louise Colley, managing director of protection at Aviva, said: "Over a third of income protection claims paid out last year by Friends Life were for mental health conditions.3 We're acutely aware of how prevalent mental health issues are and know that access to the right support early on is vital in helping to prevent longer term mental health issues.
"These enhancements are part of our on-going drive to provide important support frameworks for our protection customers."