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10 companies boosting benefits so employees don't feel isolated or lonely in the middle of the coronavirus crisis

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  • Amid the coronavirus pandemic, more companies are stepping up their mental health benefit offerings for employees. 
  • Some 53% of 256 employers surveyed by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions reported providing special emotional and mental health programs for their workforce because of the pandemic. 
  • Here are several companies, including Starbucks and Target, that have boosted their mental health resources in the wake of the global outbreak. 
  • This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended life as we know it for millions of Americans, causing feelings of anxiety, depression, and grief. An ongoing survey of more than 80,000 people from survey provider SurveyMonkey found that 86% of Americans are worried about the outbreak in the US.
The silver lining is that companies are stepping up to help their employees by expanding their mental health benefits.  
A recent survey of 256 companies by the nonprofit employer group the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions found that 53% of employers are providing special emotional and mental health programs for their workforce in the wake of the pandemic.
These include changes in employee assistance programs, discounts on mental health apps, and more virtual service options like remote yoga classes.
Here are 10 companies that have made changes to their wellness benefits in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
SEE ALSO: Mental health benefits are becoming America's most competitive office perk in the age of coronavirus

Starbucks is giving employees and their family members 20 free counseling sessions a year.



Starbucks announced that beginning April 6, all of its employees (which the company calls "partners") who work 20 hours or more per week will now be entitled to expanded mental health benefits through its employee assistance program (EAP).
Each employee and their family members will be able to access 20 sessions a year with a mental health therapist or coach through the provider Lyra Health, at no cost. The benefit rollout will impact more than 220,000 US workers and their family members, according to Ron Crawford, vice president of global benefits at Starbucks.



Target is expanding its offering of online mental health resources.



Target is offering its US employees access to free online resources to support their mental, emotional, and physical health. Employees will receive a year of access to Daylight, a website and app designed to help users navigate stress and worry, and Sleepio, an app that provides self-help tools to improve sleep.
For the month of April, employees will also be able to access free virtual fitness classes through the app Wellbeats. Before the pandemic, Target employees already had access to the company's EAP program that, among other benefits, offers five free counseling sessions.



PwC is offering employees access to well-being coaches.



PwC recently introduced well-being coaching sessions where employees can reach out to a professional coach to discuss anything that may be causing them stress. They also created an online community for workers to connect with one another to discuss challenges they're facing surrounding coronavirus.
The firm already offers employees and dependents six free therapy sessions, confidential emotional support via mobile app, and free apps on guided meditations, sleep, breathing, and relaxing music.



SoFi is giving employees and select family members up to six therapy sessions.



In light of COVID-19, SoFi, a loan refinancing and personal finance company, has started providing employees, and up to three dependents over the age of 18, access to a mental health platform called Modern Health, in addition to in-network coverage of mental health providers included in their employee health plan. Modern Health offers employees up to six in-person or video therapy sessions and a range of digital resources like classes on meditation. 



Kickstand Communications is providing employees with a more flexible schedule.



Kickstand Communications, a public relations, content marketing, and social media agency, already provides employees with a monthly wellness stipend that can be used to pay for mental or physical health. Because of coronavirus, the company recently began providing employees with a more flexible work schedule, and three hours per week to step away from the computer and recharge.



Salesforce has started offering employees a series of articles and webinars on emotional health, as well as a meditation app, in addition to other benefits.



In addition to its already existing employee assistance program that includes free face-to-face or video counseling sessions, Salesforce has begun offering employees access to Thriving Mind, a series of articles and webinars on emotional health created in partnership with Stanford Medical and Thrive Global. The company has also launched a live webinar series called B-Well Together with figures like Arianna Huffington and Deepak Chopra, a daily well-being survey to track employees' mental health, as well as access to Plum Village's Zen Meditation app.




TransferWise is giving employees a 50% discount on mindfulness apps like Headspace.



Global technology company TransferWise already offered its 2,000 employees counseling sessions with mental health professionals through its EAP. Because of the pandemic, however, the company is offering employees discounts on various well-being services, such as 50% off Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation for stress and sleep. TransferWise is also increasing its offerings of wellness-related Zoom events, from yoga and salsa dancing to meditation and a book club.



Clearcover is hosting a digital roundtable session with a mental health counselor.



Auto insurance company Clearcover is hosting a digital session with a counselor through its EAP to discuss mental health during social distancing and quarantine. The company has also set up a slack channel on mental health and productivity to encourage conversation around the topic.
Prior to the pandemic, the company offered employees three free sessions with a counselor, regardless of whether they were enrolled in medical benefits, along with unlimited PTO days.



EY is offering its employees 24/7 resources through its program EY Assists, which connects employees to healthcare professionals.



The professional services firm is offering 24/7 resources through its program EY Assist, which connects employees to healthcare professionals. In addition, the company is offering small discussion groups to employees on mental health, webinars on managing stress, and virtual coaching sessions.



Merit, a platform for digital credentials, is offering workers access to a service that lets employees talk with wellness coaches.



Merit, a platform for digital credentials, is offering its employees and their spouses free access to 24/7 mental wellness coaching through Sibly, a service where people can text with wellness coaches about a variety of mental health topics. Sibly is currently offering organizations three months of the service  free of charge or commitment. 






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