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Goodwill Industries of Arkansas helping other companies with mental health first aid

The pandemic has business owners nationwide taking proactive steps for their employees' well-being.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Goodwill Industries of Arkansas is providing executives to other large corporations training with their Mental Health First Aid program. It's designed to teach them how to recognize certain disorders, like depression and anxiety, in their employees.

Brandy Alcacio is the program development manager for Goodwill and says since the training has become virtual, it's spread across companies and communities nationwide. 

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“These huge companies are wanting to take care of their employees and learn to better recognize signs and symptoms of mental health issues and how to handle that. They’re coming to us asking if we can help train their higher level executives, their management teams," said Alcacio.

The training consists of two hours of pre-work and five and half hours of live content over Zoom. They take breaks in-between, which stretches it out to seven hours at training throughout the day.

Since July, more than 180 people have taken a certification course in Mental Health First Aid offered by Goodwill Industries of Arkansas.

Brandi Ivy is the executive assistant at Warhorse Legacy Foundation, Inc. which focuses on giving veterans an outlet. 

"We spend a lot of time with veterans that have PTSD and different things that they're dealing with, and we just wanted to be able to learn the signs and know that there is help out there to give them somebody to talk to and help them," said Ivy. 

The foundation took the course about two weeks ago, but are excited to use what they learned to help people.

RELATED: There's a growing mental health crisis in young people during the pandemic

Ivy says taking the course was eye opening. 

"We spent time talking about things that people don't usually want to talk about, like suicide and depression," Ivy explained. "Especially nowadays with COVID, there's more suicides and more people with depression. So it's good to know we have those tools where we can hopefully get somebody the help that they need."

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