Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid

With an estimated 1 in 5 Americans experiencing a mental health disorder in any given year, it’s extremely likely that you will encounter someone in your family, workplace, school, church, or community who lives with a diagnosed mental disorder.

Free Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings are designed to teach members of the public how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional distress. It’s a little like learning CPR for mental health and addiction disorders. There’s no need to be a clinician or a specialist —​ everyone can benefit from knowing the basics of how to respond in a crisis. There are two curricula that are offered at various times throughout the year. Check back often to see when the course in which you are interested will be offered.

The Youth Curriculum for adults is aimed at anyone who interacts with youth, such as church youth group leaders, teachers, 4-H leaders, coaches/volunteers of youth sports, etc.

Youth Mental Health First Aid certification teaches participants to:

  • Recognize the potential risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, ADHD, disruptive behavioral disorders, and substance use disorders.
  • Use a five-step action plan to help a young person in crisis connect with appropriate professional help.
  • Interpret the prevalence of various mental health disorders in youth within the United States and the need for reduced negative attitudes in communities.
  • Apply knowledge of the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help a young person with a mental health problem treat and manage the problem and achieve recovery.
  • Assess their own views and feelings about youth mental health problems and disorders.

The Adult Curriculum is for anyone who interacts with adults, including professionals such as receptionists, church staff, social service agency personnel, library employees, etc.

Mental Health First Aid certification, which must be renewed every three years, instructs trainees to:

  • Recognize the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis and psychotic disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury.
  • Use a five-step action plan to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional help.
  • Interpret the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the United States and the need for reduced negative attitudes in communities.
  • Apply knowledge of the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem treat and manage the problem and achieve recovery.
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