Walmart offers mental health training to employees

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Walmart is launching mental health first-aid training that teaches associates.

Walmart is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month in May with a new employee initiative.

As one of the largest employers in the U.S., Walmart has set out to not only spread awareness among its employees about mental health issues, but also ensure that they have skills necessary to aid or even save a life.  Starting this month, the company is launching “Mental Health First Aid” training that teaches employees how to identify, understand and respond to people who are struggling with mental health challenges.

The four-hour training program, which will be available virtually and in-person at the company’s home office in Bentonville, Ark., will prepare associates to:

  • Recognize signs and symptoms and provide direct assistance and support;
  • Properly reach out to emergency services on someone’s behalf;
  • Implement the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan; and
  • Access emotional well-being benefits and resources.

In a post on the company’s site, Kim Lupo, senior VP global true rewards, noted that Walmart will continue to offer 24/7 confidential counseling services with licensed therapists at no cost to all associates and their family members.

“And we will continue to offer our associates the opportunity to get connected anytime of the day, with confidential and anonymous virtual support groups with people who are struggling with similar issues,” she said.

Additionally, Walmart recently expanded a pilot program with AiRCare Health that proactively reaches out to employees enrolled in a Walmart medical plan to check-in and see how they are doing. With the service area expansion to Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia, more than 258,000 Walmart employees will benefit from “this proactive emotional well-being approach,” Lupo said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States. One in five Americans will experience a mental illness in any given year.