In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Walmart Inc. is setting out to open up the conversation about mental health and help break the stigma that often surrounds it. The retailer is launching a program to spread awareness among its associates about mental health issues and also teach them the skills necessary to aid or even save a life.
The four-hour Mental Health First Aid training will teach Walmart employees how to identify, understand and respond to people who are struggling with mental health challenges, and will be available both online and in-person at the Walmart headquarters office in Bentonville, Ark. Trained associates will be able 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.
- Access emotional well-being benefits and resources.
“This is just the latest example of how we are reinforcing our commitment to the mental and emotional well-being of our associates,” wrote SVP Global Total Rewards Kim Lupo in a company blog post. “We 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.”
Walmart also recently expanded an AiRCare Health pilot program to Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia associates that are enrolled in a Walmart medical plan. Those employees will be proactively contacted to see how they are doing.
This is the latest in employee health and wellness initiatives launched by the retailer. Walmart recently shared its plans to build the Walton Family Whole Health & Fitness center and a Child Care Center at its new corporate campus in Bentonville, with construction and programming of the fitness center being guided by the principles of Alice L. Walton’s nonprofit Whole Health Institute.
“Whole Health Institute addresses physical, mental, emotional and social factors that affect well-being,” said Walt Cooper, CEO of Whole Health Institute. “The intentional design of Walton Family Whole Health & Fitness brings that vision to life by creating an environment that goes beyond physical fitness to make holistic health achievable.”
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores under 46 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.