Ever since July, Starbucks has opened 641 new stores in the U.S., leading Starbucks to hire many more new staff members. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one in five adults ages 18 and older in 2016 struggled with mental illness. By having mental health benefits in the workplace, such as at Starbucks, more workers will stay on staff and have better work performance.

Starbucks’s Focus on Mental Health

Starbucks believes in keeping their employees happy and well. It was recently announced at a leadership conference in Chicago that Starbucks plans on having mental health benefits to attract new employees. Starbucks already offers through its health insurance residential and outpatient mental healthcare as well as six free visits with a mental health provider through its Employee Assistance Program. Unfortunately, only 4% to 5% of employees actually use it. It is possible employees are not taking advantage of these programs because they are looking for something different or need something more for their needs like being able to text a therapist.

Starbucks plans on holding a “mental health matters” session with a clinical psychologist to educate managers about mental health problems, identifying the signs, and tips on how to approach them the right way. The U.S. is using Starbucks in Canada as an example of their plan as they are offering $5,000 towards mental health benefits annually.

How Mental Health Can Impact Business

Improving the mental health of employees makes good business. Early intervention is the key to ensure that your employees feel happy when they are at work and do not have any negative experiences with other co-workers or customers. Companies can encourage meetings with counselors, meditation sessions, and campaigns that are designed to reduce the stigma. No one at work should be ashamed to tell their boss that they have a mental illness and that certain things are harder for them than others. 

Without the right support to help the emotional needs of employees, this could be a heavy financial cost to employers with many absences or employees quitting if the job is too tough on their mental health. Especially at a service industry at Starbucks where everything is fast-paced and requires you to be quick on your feet, you need to be in the right headspace to handle it all. With Starbucks taking care of their employees’ mental health, other companies should be following suit soon.

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