Starbucks announced Monday that it is forging ahead with comprehensive plans to aid and support the mental health of its employees.
The new initiative comes in the form of a partnership with U.K.–based company Headspace, a business that aims to relieve stress through guided meditations. According to the company’s website, it offers hundreds of themed sessions to help with stress, sleep, focus, and anxiety and scoliosis exercises to help with meltdowns.
Headspace was launched in 2010 based off the meditative stylings of Andy Puddicombe, who spent time as a Buddhist monk.
Starbucks stated that U.S. and Canada partners can subscribe—for no charge—to Headspace’s app “to support daily meditation and mindfulness.”
The addition of Headspace isn’t Starbucks’s first foray into combating mental illness, which affects one in five adults, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Last fall, more than 10,000 Starbucks managers and field leaders from across the nation and Canada came together for a session specifically regarding mental health. Since that large event, Starbucks reported that thousands of partners contributed to the company’s Mental Health Matters online forum and participated in Third Place Development Series training where they faced topics such as “loneliness, vulnerability, courage, and the power of small acts and conversation to strengthen human connection.”
Starbucks has also formed partnerships with the Born This Way Foundation to support World Kindness Day and Team Red White & Blue and Team Rubicon to support the mental health of military members and families on Veterans Day.
Later in the year, Starbucks plans to launch two more major mental health initiatives.
The first will be a new Employee Assistance Program that will include feedback from partners and mental health experts to connect partners with care that meets specific needs. The other plan is to begin dedicated training for all U.S. and Canada store managers, with inspiration from Mental Health First Aid, a national program that teaches how to respond to signs of mental illness. The training—designed by the National Council for Behavioral Health—will “provide guidance and skills needed to listen to and provide initial resources that can support someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue, substance use problem, or crisis.”
“Mental health is a fundamental part of our humanity,” the company said on its website. “We have so much more opportunity ahead, and with each step, we want to ensure that every partner, in every store, feels supported and knows how and where to seek help for themselves and others.”
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