Hispanic Chamber, Center for Health Care Services partner to increase mental health training for businesses – San Antonio Business Journal – San Antonio Business Journal

As local businesses continue to encounter rising mental health claims amid the global pandemic, two San Antonio-based organizations are coming together to help Alamo City companies navigate a changing workplace.
On Tuesday, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held an educational session as part of a new partnership with the Center for Healthcare Services, detailing how local businesses can access resources to train their leaders in mental health first aid — which helps employees deal with mental crises.
Originally developed by Australian health educator Betty Kitchener, the training program provides sessions that give businesses, nonprofits and schools a three-year certification in mental health first aid. The training — totaling eight hours — teaches leaders to listen and respond to depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis and substance use disorders in employees and individuals.
“I want 100% of Bexar County trained. I’m shooting for the stars,” said Karen Coleman, mental health first aid outreach specialist at CHCS.
Coleman said she regularly connects local businesses to 39 mental health care providers in Bexar County.
As the pandemic lingers, Coleman said she’s seen a positive shift in how employers in the county deal with workers struggling with mental health.
“I think we’ve seen a little more action. Ready or not, this is what we’re dealing with now,” she said.
The SAHCC represents 900 business in the city, according to Marina Gonzalez, SAHCC president and CEO.
“We haven’t been prepared, but now we have to be. They’re [CHCS] bringing information. Our purpose was to make sure we could reach our members,” Gonzalez said.
The new partnership coincides with a recent report from the U.S Department of Labor, Department of the Treasury and Department of Health and Human Services that found widespread inequities with employers and mental health benefits.
It also comes as Congress aims to crack down on insurers who routinely deny mental health and addiction claims.
According to the Center for Healthcare Services, nearly 35 million workdays are lost due to mental health each year costing employers $105 billion.
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