Starbucks Canada increases mental-health benefits to $5,000

Starbucks Canada has increased its mental-health benefits from $400 to $5,000 per year for all employees who work 20 or more hours a week, as well as their dependents.

Staff can seek treatment from a clinical psychologist or a counsellor with a master’s degree in social work, counselling psychology or clinical psychology.

Read: Starbucks offers free university tuition to employees

In a series of forums last year, employees explained the value they place on mental-health support, Sara Presutto, vice president of human resources at Starbucks Canada, said in a release.

“The statistics are very clear that mental health is an important issue that is affecting many Canadians,” she said. “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.”

Read: Starbucks expands housing, sabbatical benefits to Chinese employees 

Many Starbucks employees are young – the average age is 24 – and 70 per cent of mental-health problems first present in childhood or adolescence, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“This is an important age where early intervention can help ensure a healthy future,” Presutto told Benefits Canada in an email.

“The most important thing we can do is offer a safe and welcoming work environment that supports our partners every day and especially in times of need.”

Employees can also take advantage of an employee assistance program, which provides short-term mental health support and can help staff find a long-term therapist.

Read: Treating mental health could boost Canadian economy by $48B a year

Correction: Story updated at 12 p.m. to correct which staff are eligible for EAP.