Do you know what to do when someone near you has an anxiety attack or is in crisis?

Mental health is an incredibly important part of overall health. With a growing number of people experiencing mental health symptoms, WSU believes it’s critical to offer workplace wellness training programs to advocate for employees’ mental wellbeing.

Read about how Behrens Manufacturing employees supported coworkers’ mental health needs, only weeks after taking a WSU Mental Health First Aid Certification course.


Approximately one in 5 Americans experiences mental health or addiction disorders each year (National Alliance for Mental Illness, 2022).

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

WSU believes Mental Health First Aid 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.

Behrens Manufacturing in Winona, Minnesota, enrolled their first managerial cohort in WSU Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Certification in April.

Behrens Human Resource Director, Rebecca Rowe shared:

Our Behrens team learned the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and how to help someone in crisis or who is experiencing a mental health challenge.

We had two incidences of co-workers assisting and supporting each other through mental health issues, and the WSU Mental Health First Aid training made a huge difference. It gave my people the confidence to address the need and respond with appropriate support and referral.

One instance involved a response from the Winona Police Department; our employee and the Winona PD spoke the same mental health language. I later learned that the Winona PD had also gone through the Mental Health First Aid Certification with WSU one year ago.

I believe having multiple community organizations take MHFA will make an even greater impact in our overall community wellness!

Rebecca Rowe

Human Resource Director, Behrens Manufacturing

WSU Adult & Continuing Education (ACE) partnered with WSU Health, Exercise & Rehabilitative Services (HERS) Assistant Professor Connie Mettille, a Certified MHFA Trainer.

Connie said:

A focus of Mental Health First Aid is to raise awareness of mental health concerns and to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to address front-line mental health issues within their community.

When we have the skills to help each other, we create healthier schools, businesses, and communities.

Putting the focus on mental health instead of dealing with the fallout of mental illness can lead to happier and more productive living!

Connie Mettille

Assistant Professor, WSU Health, Exercise & Rehabilitative Services (HERS)

WSU Business Outreach Coordinator, Julie Kiehne shared:

MHFA is evidence-based, and studies show people trained in Mental Health First Aid are more knowledgeable and confident when it comes to identifying and helping individuals in distress.

My 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

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


About Behrens Manufacturing

Behrens Manufacturing is the #1 steel container manufacturer in America. The company and its steel products (garden, camping, home, farm, and more) have stood the test of time.

Although the products they create help the world work and get organized, today their purpose transcends function and surpasses utility. Behrens greatest passion is to inspire, to bring joy and add beauty.

About WSU-Adult & Continuing Education

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 that they can reach their personal and professional goals.

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