New milestone for Mental Health First Aid program

19 SEP 2023

The firm’s Mental Health First Aid (MHFAiders) program, which was launched in 2019, has reached a new milestone – 500 Goldman Sachs colleagues globally are now certified as MHFAiders – an internationally recognized certification. 

“We continue to provide best-in-class benefits for our people, while ensuring they can focus on their physical, mental and financial health,” said Jacqueline Arthur, global head of Human Capital Management. “I am particularly passionate about growing our mental health initiatives, including scaling our Mental Health First Aid program globally and driving openness on this important topic.”

The MHFAiders program, which initially launched in our EMEA and Asia Pacific offices, is now global since its expansion to the Americas, and most recently India. The curriculum delivers training on how to provide information and confidential support to individuals who are experiencing mental health challenges or are concerned about the mental health of others – both in and outside the workplace.

“The point is to think about mental health differently – your own and that of others – and to lead with curiosity and without judgment when connecting with the people around us,” said Taylor Wilkins, a program facilitator through Optum Workplace Wellbeing at GS. “Everything in the program is voluntary, and the goal is to de-stigmatize mental health by identifying signs and symptoms, talking about them, and connecting people to resources.”

The curriculum is designed to create a safe learning environment, with clear and consistent instruction and evaluation. Participants have a responsibility to be present for the duration of the course, which consists of pre-work, class training either in person or virtually, and follow-up online work. Importantly, MHFAiders respect privacy at all times, and do not diagnose or treat themselves and others.

“We are energized by our own people’s contribution and commitment to this important work,” said Laura Young, global head of Benefits and Wellness. “The initiative complements the firm’s suite of mental health and resilience programs, which focus on providing Goldman Sachs people with services and education tools to approach their health and wellbeing in a holistic way.”

L. Barbour, who co-facilitates the program for the firm’s US offices via Optum Workplace Wellbeing at GS, encouraged MHFAiders-in-training to approach each conversation with empathy, while being fully present and remaining mindful of body language, emotions and tone: “Recognize what might make it hard for someone to get help, meet people where they are and focus on making them feel ‘seen and heard.”