Congratulations to Starbucks Canada for showing leadership in employee wellness! Starbucks made the announcement during mental health awareness week. Working at Starbucks just got better, they have increased their coverage for counselling and therapy . The coverage for the services of social workers and psychologists has increased from $400 per year to $5,000. Eligible employees (employed over 20 hours per week) and their families will have access to this coverage which will not require a doctor’s referral.
This is important news and acknowledgement that change in the area of employee wellness is needed. There is an increasing need for these supports to be available. “20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime “according to stats from Canadian Mental Health Association.
The news this month was covered with interest by a number of publications such as The Globe and Mail whose article Why Starbucks Canada’s investment in mental health therapy matters, pointed out the significance. People need help and our public system has limited resources for the volume it is seeing. They have made the commitment to their employees and their families. This benefit may seem large but health care analysis Mike Sullivan points out, it is likely to be used by a small portion of employees and will reduce productivity, disability claims, absenteeism and increase wellness and satisfaction. This is really a win, win situation for both employer and employee. They are reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and increasing the likelihood of earlier intervention.
As we see the see the millennials make up a larger part of the work force, holistic mental health is what they will be seeking. It is inspiring to see corporations recognize this need and take steps to support their employees in such a positive manner. If you are not sure about your benefit coverage call your HR representative or benefit provider. Many packages are now including coverage of an RSW or Registered Social Worker.