Starbucks is making a major move for Mental Health Awareness week.
The American coffee-and-more retailer, which employs almost 20,000 Canadians, is increasing mental health benefits for its Canadian workforce to $5,000 a year.
The new amount is 10 times more than the previous sum contributed to such benefits.
“The statistics are very clear that mental health is an important issue that is affecting many Canadians,” said Starbucks Canada VP of Human Resources Sara Presutto. “Last year, we held open forums across the country with our partners and heard first-hand that receiving mental health support is important to them.”
Having a major player be part of the conversation is a significant boost to other initiatives Canadian companies have taken to make mental health a priority. Starbucks even called on other employers to follow suit.
“We do not believe the current level of support for mental health benefits provided by Canadian employers is sufficient and we encourage all companies in Canada to step up and join this important effort,” said Presutto.
There certainly are some who’ve already stepped up, of course.
Toronto-based startup TranQool, for example, simplifies access to mental health treatment by connecting patients with licensed therapists through online video chats. Another project monitors social media to detect mental illness. There’s even a flashy retailer putting mental health front and centre of its clothing and accessories.
Starbucks’ benefits will be available to all eligible Starbucks Canada employees who work a minimum of 20 hours each week, as well as their dependents.