What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Patterned after medical first aid, classes teach everyday people how to recognize and respond to someone who appears to be in mental distress and how to help them effectively until the person can get professional help.

What you learn in Mental Health First Aid

Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

Topics Covered

  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma
  • Psychosis
  • Substance Use disorders

Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.