Starbucks is increasing mental health benefits for its workforce in Canada to $5,000 a year. The move comes during Mental Health Awareness Week – which helps raise awareness of the subject of mental health – and represents a tenfold increase in such benefits at Starbucks.
“The statistics are very clear that mental health is an important issue that is affecting many Canadians,” Sara Presutto, vice president of human resources with Starbucks Canada, said in a statement. “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.”
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental health problems and illnesses are one of the top three drivers of disability claims by more than 80 per cent of Canadian employers. As well, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health problem, with a cost to the economy of more than $50 billion.
“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,” Presutto said in a statement.
Mental illness issues often begin early. And with an average employee age of 24, Starbucks is one of the largest employers of young Canadians.
As of Oct. 1, the benefits have been made available to all eligible Starbucks Canada employees, who work a minimum of 20 hours each week. The benefits will also be available to their dependents.