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Ravitz Family Markets Offers Mental Health First Aid Training

Ravitz Family ShopRite team members with their Mental Health First Aid certificates
From left, Ravitz Family Markets Human Resources team members Cindy Watson Casey, Bob Baylor, Ken Brahl, Katie Orem, Antonio Rodriguez, Patricia Williams, Samantha Acampa and Erin Ecker are shown with their Mental Health First Aid certifications.

Ravitz Family Markets is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month by putting the spotlight on a course that trains associates in Mental Health First Aid.

The free, volunteer course, which is offered by certified instructors, was developed by the National Council for Mental Well-being and is designed to give participants basic tools and skills for recognizing the signs of someone experiencing a mental health challenge.

With the call to action #BeTheDifference, the course teaches participants ways to offer initial support to someone who might be struggling and possibly help them seek further assistance.

“This is about helping people understand how to listen and be a potential link – maybe the first stop – on the way to professional help and early intervention for someone in need. When you consider that more than 20 million Americans experience a mental health challenge each year, we think it’s important to help people recognize and offer initial support to someone who might be struggling, including themselves,” said Ken Brahl, senior director of Ravitz Family Markets.

Brahl, who has gone through the extensive training with the National Council for Mental Well-being to become a certified instructor, said that while associates and managers are often invited to participate in the course, the training is not mandatory. The volunteer program requires online and in-person instruction, often conducted at Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based Ravitz Family Markets headquarters. Those who take the course receive a certification that is good for three years.

The effort was especially close to the heart of Steve Ravitz, who led the family business for 40 years before retiring in 2019. Ravitz was open about his past struggles with depression and felt strongly about helping others who might be experiencing a mental health challenge, noted Brahl.

The Mental Health First Aid program at Ravitz Family Markets launched a year before Ravitz died in 2020, but was put on hold during the pandemic. Brahl has been ramping up the training again over the last year and now has associates coming back to be re-certified.

Ravitz Family Markets is putting the spotlight on the program this May as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, which reminds people that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being.

“My father would be very proud of this training that we are offering associates, and it is truly his legacy,” said Shawn Ravitz, VP of Ravitz Family Markets.

Shawn Ravitz and his brothers Jason and Brett run the business today, and the family has strong ties to the South Jersey communities where their ShopRite stores operate. Their Ravitz Family Foundation has donated millions to community groups and local aid organizations, funding everything from after-school programs and playgrounds to food pantries and community gardens.

Offering the Mental Health First Aid training is another way of helping the community. To date, 120 Ravitz Family Markets associates have gone through the program.

“We offer basic first aid training for associates to help those who may be suffering a health emergency – why wouldn’t we do it to learn more about how to help people struggling with a mental health challenge,” added Brahl.

About ShopRite

ShopRite is the registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in Keasbey, New Jersey, and the largest supermarket cooperative in the United States. With more than 270 ShopRite supermarkets located throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland, ShopRite serves more than six million customers each week.

Read more independent store news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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