Supporting Staff Struggling With Their Mental Health

A research test was undertaken to discover how employees felt about different diseases & illnesses.

The goal was to help them to spot the bias we have towards each others sufferings, illnesses and diseases.

A Lesson In Mental Health Issues

A room of employees were given cards with different illnesses and diseases on them. They were instructed to order themselves from ‘worst’ to ‘best’.

Some knew exactly which side of the line they needed to go, but others with ‘back pain’ or ‘depression’ were the most confused, and keep swapping positions.

Of course, some big factors include: what type of job do you have? Is your illness or disease managed?

The lesson goes to show that the way we view these different illnesses is not as clear cut as we sometimes make out. It’s not a simple horizontal scale of worst to best, but far more complicated that that.

The way we view physical and mental illnesses should be the same, not different.

The Story At Starbucks

Starbucks have recently made headlines due to their impressive action towards supporting their employees mental health.

They have launched a well-being app for their 291,000 global employees, and are committed to training their staff on mental and emotional resilience.

The movement began in Autumn last year, where 12,000 store leaders from the US and Canada gathered together for a session on mental wellbeing.

They learnt, discussed, and offered input towards mental health and applied it across their Starbucks coffee shops.

In January 2020 Starbucks added a free membership to the Headspace app in their employee benefits. This allows users to have guided meditation sessions on sleep, anxiety and stress.

More training will be offered to members of staff throughout the year, to ensure that they all better understand mental health issues, and feel supported if they are going through anything themselves.

How Does Your Business Support Your Employees?

How often does your business consider your employees mental health? 

It’s a great question to ask, but a tough one too.

I think, if we are honest, we are tempted to say it’s covered – by offering a few days annual leave to those struggling.

Or perhaps we trust that our workplace’s ‘family feel’ atmosphere will allow people to share if they have mental health struggles…

But is this really enough?

We Don’t Have All The Answers

Starbucks have taken great steps to show that they both care, and want to educate their employees in the difficulties and realities of mental health issues. 

Perhaps there are some tips that you can take from Starbucks: strategies you can insert into your one-to-one appraisals with your staff?

We don’t have all the answers, but it seems clear that business owners must start showing that they care. They must start seeking to equip their employees with a better understanding of mental health struggles…. for many reasons…

But perhaps the most important reason is that we are all people at the end of the day, working through life together, with only those around us to offer us support and care when we need it most.


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