Today is World Mental Health Day…
1 in 4 people will suffer from a range of mental health issues in their lifetime – depression, anxiety, eating disorders, among other illnesses. Many will suffer with more than one illness at a time. Despite being incredibly common, there continues to be stigma surrounding mental illness.
We all want to be seen as strong, capable, happy… people don’t like to admit that they’ve struggled, and it’s incredibly hard to admit that we’re suffering.
Incredibly, Starbucks Canada is doing something to help. It’s not often that my two worlds collide – coffee and mental health! (Did you know that I also work as a researcher in mental health at the University of Oxford?!)
From today, Starbucks Canada is raising the amount of money available to their 19,000 employees (who work more than 20 hours per week) to $5,000 per year for counselling and psychological therapies. Within the context of employer-provided healthcare services, this is unprecedented. It gives a clear message to their employees that they value their staff’s mental well-being, and are will to help when times are tough. What’s even better is that the initiative has come directly from discussions held in employee-led focus groups – it was the number 1 concern they raised about their work-life balance and well-being. And Starbucks Canada listened and did something about it… Gold star to them!
If you’d like to read more about the details of their initiative, take a look at the article in the Globe and Mail here.
The chances are pretty good that you or someone close to you is currently suffering or has suffered in the past with mental health issues.
Talking is one way to feel better… If you think someone could use a friendly ear, offer it. If you need someone to talk to, ask.
If you’re feeling really low with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please ask your doctor for help or contact your local medical services – there are people who can help you through these dark days.