Reading Time: 4 minutes

Specialized training to become available for pharmacists
industry-wide through Walgreens commitment to workplace wellness and the
health and well-being of communities

DEERFIELD, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the most accessible health care providers in the community, and also
among the most trusted, pharmacists can play an important role as part
of patients’ care teams to help address the growing need for mental
health resources. With today marking the beginning of Mental Health
Month in the U.S.,
Walgreens announces a unique collaboration with
the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) and the
American Pharmacists Association (APhA), to provide Mental
Health First Aid
training for certain Walgreens pharmacists and team

Mental Health First Aid, administered by the National Council, trains
participants in mental health literacy, understanding risk factors and
warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns and strategies
for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Walgreens will begin the training with certain pharmacy staff members,
including those focused on health outcomes. As part of the company’s
growing commitment to workplace mental health and wellness, it is also
working with the National Council to train more than 300 Walgreens team
members within human resources in Mental Health First Aid.

“With the growing need for services and resources to help those living
with mental health conditions, as well as substance use and addiction,
we can play an important role by giving our pharmacists and certain team
members the training to help those who may be in crisis,” said Alex
Gourlay, co-chief operating officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
“We’re proud to further our commitment to improving the health and
wellbeing of our communities through this initiative and working with
the National Council and APhA to continue an important dialogue around
mental health and how we can help.”

The initiative further builds upon Walgreens’ digital platform and
resources related to mental health, as well as the company’s efforts to
curb opioid misuse and abuse, as more than 8 million U.S. adults are
estimated to be living with a mental health condition as well as
battling addiction to opioids or other substances1.

Walgreens, the National Council and APhA are working closely together
through the collaboration to tailor the training program for
pharmacists, and it will be accredited by the Accreditation Council for
Pharmacy Education.

“One in five people experiences a mental health or substance use issue
in a given year and it’s likely that most of those individuals use a
pharmacy’s services during that year,” said Betsy Schwartz, vice
president of public education and strategic initiatives at the National
Council for Behavioral Health. “Thanks to the leadership of Walgreens,
the National Council and APhA, pharmacists trained in Mental Health
First Aid can be a first line of help for people when they possibly need
it most.”

Also through this effort, and with Walgreens’ support, Mental Health
First Aid training will eventually become available to any pharmacist
industry-wide, and with the opportunity to earn continuing education
credits through APhA. The training can benefit patients, as well as
pharmacists, at a critical time.

“APhA is pleased to play an active role in this partnership,” said APhA
CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA. “We applaud
Walgreens, the National Council, practitioners and all other employers
who recognize and meet the needs of pharmacists and the patients they
serve. The issues of substance use and mental health are real and acute.
Arming our front lines with these training and educational resources is
a strong move in addressing this crisis.”

In the workplace, Walgreens offers a wide variety of services through
its free employee assistance program, including an allotment of
behavioral health visits available at no cost for team members and their
families. All Walgreens-sponsored medical and prescription drug plans
also include comprehensive mental health care for eligible employees.

“The overall health of our 240,000 team members and their families is a
top priority and as a company that champions health and well-being in
our communities across the U.S., we strive to do everything we can as an
employer to keep our workforce healthy, physically and mentally,” said
Kristin Oliver, Walgreens’ senior vice president and chief human
resources officer. “We’re proud to offer this training program to
hundreds of employees within our human resources department, and through
this collaboration, to give more of our workforce critical tools and
skills to better serve our customers and our company.”

Walgreens Mental Health Platform

Walgreens launched its mental health platform
( in May 2016 to help meet the growing need
for resources and access to care and to connect more people with
clinical resources in their community who can help. It includes a mental
health answers site that features informational resources, content and a
selection of free online screening tools through program partner Mental
Health America.

In addition, a behavioral telehealth solution provided by Breakthrough,
an MDLIVE company, is available through Walgreens digital
properties. Breakthrough offers access to more than 1,000
state-licensed therapists and psychiatrists to treat addiction,
depression, stress and other behavioral health concerns.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (, one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains,
is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots
Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and
wellbeing enterprise. Approximately 8 million customers interact with
Walgreens in stores and online each day, using the most convenient,
multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted,
cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. As of
Aug. 31, 2018, Walgreens operates 9,560 drugstores with a presence in
all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands, along with its omni-channel business,
Approximately 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other
provider retail clinic services.

About the American Pharmacists Association

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American
Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing
60,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student
pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the
profession. APhA is dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve
medication use and advance patient care and is the first-established and
largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more
information, please visit

About the National Council for Behavioral Health

The National
Council for Behavioral Health
 is the unifying voice of America’s
health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions
treatment and services. Together with our 3,000 member organizations
serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental
illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all
Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords
every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental
Health First Aid USA
 and more than 1.5 million Americans have been

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


Jim Cohn
Phone: 847-315-2950
[email protected]