The pandemic has disrupted work, family, and social routines, causing a rise in anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral health issues like never before. That’s why we were so pleased to recently sponsor a Mental Health First Aid course for a group of our clients and roundtable members.

Just as CPR training helps a person with no clinical training assist an individual following a heart attack, this program, developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, helps a person assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. In both situations, the goal is to help support an individual until appropriate professional help arrives.

During our session, participants ― including representatives from American Greetings, Lubrizol, and MTD ― learned a 5-step action plan known as ALGEE, which includes assessing risk, respectfully listening to and supporting the individual in crisis, and identifying appropriate professional help and other support. They were also introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, engaged in experiential activities that built understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families, and learned about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies.

Trained individuals can use the new skills in their own position or as an internal “subject matter expert” ― providing critical support to those around them. They can also use their new knowledge to develop and deploy a customized program within their company. And finally, course participants can become certified trainers themselves and train others in their organization.

For more information on the Mental Health First Aid program or to connect with local instructors, feel free to contact a member of the Chelko team or visit