Zoe Thomas wants to impact the masses. As a licensed therapist at University of Houston Downtown, she enjoys working one-on-one with patients but was looking for a way to help people simultaneously in large groups.
“Everyone had the same questions,” she said. “They had similar struggles. People are so much more alike than we are different when it comes to mental health, and I thought there must be a better way to use my knowledge, skills and education.”
As fate would have it, Thomas’ boss told her about a scholarship opportunity provided by Bioré® Skincare and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) USA in 2022 that would allow Thomas to become certified as an Adult MHFA Instructor and bring the course to her community and campus. The scholarship provided Thomas and 32 other scholarship winners from 29 universities and one higher education organization with three days of virtual Instructor training with National Trainers Katie Noble and Ali Gheith.
“It was helpful to be in training with other mental health professionals,” Thomas said. “It was like a built-in network I could reach out to and collaborate with. And you would think a three-day virtual training would be exhausting, but honestly it was very enlightening and a positive experience.”
Bioré® Skincare and MHFA first partnered in 2021 to bring MHFA to colleges and universities across the country, ultimately training 105 students in Adult MHFA. In 2022, the partnership expanded the reach of MHFA by offering Adult MHFA Instructor scholarships to college and university faculty, staff and administrators.
The partnership allowed Thomas and other scholarship recipients to #BetheDifference in their communities.
“It helps to have a brand such as Bioré® Skincare attached to MHFA,” says Thomas. “It makes people pay attention rather than scrolling past it on social media. For example, a partnership like this reaches a demographic it could otherwise miss, especially in this digital age of influencer marketing and big-brand marketing.”
Since becoming a MHFA Instructor, Thomas has stayed active in her community teaching MHFA courses. In addition to training staff at the University of Houston Downtown, she’s working with local school districts and police departments.
Sebastian Acevedo, another Bioré® Skincare-MHFA Instructor scholarship recipient, is a medical student at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who is pursuing a master’s degree in public health. He is using his Instructor training to help corrections officers in New Jersey as part of his work with Rutgers’ Community Health Justice Lab.
“These scholarships were really transformational,” he said. “I literally used the stipends that Bioré® Skincare provided to pay for training at a not-for-profit organization I partnered with for a mental health workshop series.”
Thomas says she’s so thankful for the brand’s generosity in providing scholarships. “Being able to say I got a scholarship from Bioré® Skincare to become a MHFA Instructor creates a huge impact and makes a large influence. It speaks volumes about their priorities as a brand.”
If your organization is interested in partnering with MHFA, please email MHFAImpactNetwork@thenationalcouncil.org.