Starbucks is taking steps to improve its employees’ mental health with a new long-term initiative, which includes providing short-term counselling services.
In a letter to employees in September, CEO Kevin Johnson announced the initiative along with others designed to improve employee productivity and engagement, reported Yahoo.
Johnson said that “our store managers and field leaders will experience a Mental Health Matters session with a clinical psychologist that will introduce emotional first aid, followed by a discussion about what it means to thrive and develop self-awareness.”
Starbucks will also be training its managers to respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse. They have partnered with Mental Health First Aid, a national program that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
“This strategy is smart because managers often act as a front-line, on-site emotional support for their teams and are able to guide team members on the benefits and resources available at the company,” said Heather Alder, employee assistance programme director at First Choice Health, Seattle.
The announcement came as Starbucks hosted a massive leadership conference in Chicago, at which 12,000 store managers participated.
The company has already taken steps to improve mental health benefits in other markets. In 2016, Starbucks Canada started offering $5,000 toward mental health benefits annually.