Starbucks to offer mental health services as new employee benefit

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Kevin Johnson said addressing mental health will be the latest benefit the coffee giant will offer its employees.

This week in Chicago, Starbucks will bring around 12,000 store managers from the U.S. and Canada for a leadership conference. And in conversations and surveys with those employees, the coffee giant realized the need to put mental health on the agenda.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Johnson said that the company found that some employees were afraid to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program, so they’re working to enhance the program, which provides short-term counseling services.

"We believe this is a societal problem and we want to take steps within Starbucks for our partners to break the stigma of mental health, acknowledge that it exists, and do some creative things to provide services to those in need,” the CEO said.

There will also be other announcements to come, Johnson added.

In a company-wide memo on Thursday, 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.”

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He added: “This is just the beginning, and we are excited and optimistic about what we will do in this regard. Look for meaningful changes to be rolled out over the next year.”

Among the benefits currently offered by Starbucks are comprehensive healthcare for both part-time and full-time employees, equity in the form of stock options, college tuition assistance, and family leave benefits.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo
Finance. Follow her on Twitter.