According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental health or addiction disorders each year (2022).

We spend roughly a third of our adult lives at work, which means it’s critical for employers to take employee mental wellness seriously.

Winona State University believes Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) certification is essential, so employers can help their workforce be prepared to identify, understand, and respond to mental health issues among coworkers on the job.

This past summer, Merchants Bank in Winona, Minnesota, enrolled their first cohort in WSU’s MHFA certification program.

Group photo of Merchants Bank employees after completing WSU's Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) certification program.

The MHFA program aligned with Merchants’ culture and core values of promoting workplace wellness. Thank you so much for a wonderful training day with MHFA! Our Merchants’ team really appreciated the day, Mick had great energy as our facilitator. This topic is so very essential right now.

Kristine Valk

Training Director, Merchants Bank

I am always honored when I can go into my community and have conversations about mental health, and spending the day doing MHFA training with those at Merchants was so rewarding. The Merchants crew are such good people, and the compassion they show for their employees and their community is amazing.

Mick Lynch

Certified MHFA Trainer, Winona State University, Counseling Services

Studies show people trained in Mental Health First Aid are more knowledgeable and confident when it comes to identifying and helping individuals in distress. Our goal is to make MHFA as commonplace as CPR. I believe we all need to be more aware and more informed, so we can advocate for our greatest asset: our people!

Julie Kiehne

Business Outreach Coordinator, Winona State University, Adult & Continuing Education (ACE)

For more information on how to offer Mental Health First Aid Certification for your team, contact Julie Kiehne at

About Merchants Bank

Merchants Bank is a trusted financial partner, supporting the communities they serve not just as a bank, but also a neighbor because mission and purpose matter.

They are committed to building strong communities together and believe that when the community thrives, all benefit. Community banks like Merchants serve as the backbone of our local economy.


Adult & Continuing Education (ACE) at Winona State University offers a wide range of non-credit and for-credit course offerings to enhance professional development.

Whether through online learning, immersive classroom experiences, or hands-on training, Winona State strives to meet student needs, so they can reach their personal and professional goals.

For more information about continuing education and workforce customized training opportunities at WSU, contact Julie Kiehne at