First Aid Kit

Mental Health First Aid represents an idea that is simple but powerful:  Anyone, anywhere can make a difference in the life of someone with a mental health or substance use challenge – if they know what to do and what to say.

Mike Thompson, CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions introduced this concept at our recent Alliance Learning Circle event on mental and emotional wellbeing in the workplace.

The First Aid Goal

The goal of Mental Health First Aid is to teach people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in their community.

This can be a real game changer, given the prevalence of mental illness. One in four of us will have some form of mental illness in our lifetime. While effective treatment is available, many people don’t receive it in part due to the stigma that still exists regarding mental illness.

Mental Health First Aid can go a long way toward identifying and encouraging treatment of these common conditions.

Get Training

Formal training sessions are available in communities across the country. You can search for nearby courses on the Mental Health First Aid website or learn more about becoming a trainer for your community.

The website also contains resources for rural communities and specialized training for employers.

DuPont’s Workplace ICU Program

A similar program was developed by DuPont’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The ICU Program is an awareness campaign made especially for the workplace. It is designed to reduce the stigma associated with mental health while encouraging a workplace culture that supports emotional health.

DuPont donated this program to the Center for Workplace Mental Health, who now makes it available to employers across all sectors, industries and sizes, at no cost!

Imagine the Difference

The trend toward training us in how to identify and support each other through mental health conditions is just the beginning. Imagine how different things could be if training in Mental Health First Aid were as common as community-based training in CPR!

Cheryl DeMars

Cheryl DeMars

President & CEO at The Alliance
Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative.

Cheryl participates in a number of national and regional initiatives that align with The Alliance’s mission of controlling costs, improving quality and engaging individuals in their health. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the board of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

Prior to joining The Alliance, Cheryl was a program manager at Meriter Hospital in Madison. She earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Cheryl DeMars

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