Healthcare Union Offering Free Training, Workshops for Mental Health - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Healthcare Union Offering Free Training, Workshops for Mental Health

Taken from the The

By Rick Mellerup

March 2, 2022

The Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, New Jersey’s largest union for nurses and other healthcare professionals, is inviting members of the public to participate in a free series of virtual  under the umbrella title “Moving Forward Getting Stronger.”

The courses offered – “Mental Health First Aid,” “Trauma and Traumatic Stress,” “Coping and Resiliency” and “Creating and Providing Peer to Peer Support” – range from 1½ hours to eight hours in length. People can register for them by visiting the union’s website, To repeat, they are free.

HPAE worked in conjunction with the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second largest teachers union, and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey to provide the opportunity.

HPAE President Debbie White, RN, said, “These trainings are not exclusive. In fact, the union encourages anyone who is interested, whether they work in healthcare, construction, hospitality or any other industry. No one will be rejected; everyone can access these virtual trainings and workshops. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences awarded HPAE and its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers, a grant to develop the training program.”

MHANJ’s faculty will actually conduct the trainings and workshops. MHANJ is the leading mental health advocacy organization in New Jersey.

Sen. Corey Booker is a fan of the program.

“The past two years have been difficult for all New Jerseyans, and the COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely impacted New Jersey’s healthcare professionals who have weathered trying circumstances to help our state overcome an unprecedented health crisis.

“Just as our healthcare heroes cared for us, it’s up to us now to make sure that they are supported given the stress, anxiety, and tragic loss they have endured,” he continued.

The courses were originally developed for healthcare workers, and it is obvious why it was done. One HPAE member, a critical care nurse who has seen the devastation of COVID-19 firsthand, reported insomnia and nightmares while another reported severe anxiety and “crying jags” after caring for COVID patients in an overwhelmed healthcare system.

“Nurses are trained to be stoic and remain resilient,” said White. “As a workforce we must be supported in learning to put on our own oxygen mask first, to ensure we can be strong and move forward to provide care for others.”

But the union soon realized the courses could be applied to many other fields as well. Teachers, hospitality industry workers, parents, store clerks – well, just about everybody has had to deal with stress in the past two years.

The training sessions and workshops will be provided over a wide variety of times, both in daytime and evenings, and a number of dates, with some stretching into May.

Read more here.