Mental Health First Aid Training

Most of us would know how to help if we saw someone having a heart attack—we’d start CPR, or at the very least, call 9-1-1. But too few of us would know how to respond if we saw someone having a panic attack or if we were concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism.

Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid is a one- day training program of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. It was brought to the United States in 2008 with the aim to make it as common as physical First Aid and CPR. Since the National Council brought MHFA to the U.S. in 2008, MHFA has established itself as a trusted, evidence-based training program.

Through MHFA, more than 3 million people in the U.S. have been trained by thousands of certified Instructors to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

The instructors at Bridge Health Services have certified over 2,000 individuals as First Aiders.

What do Mental Health First Aiders learn?

Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step Action Plan to recognize warning signs of a mental health or substance use challenge, provide help in crisis and non-crisis situations and understand where to turn for additional assistance.

Upon completion of the course and examination individuals receive a 3- year certification in Mental Health First Aid.


Who should get trained in Mental Health First Aid?

MHFA can be taken by anyone and has been delivered to everyone from caring community members, individuals in recovery, faith community leaders, administrators in the workplace, to healthcare professionals. MHFA courses are tailored to address the needs of specific populations including teachers and other adults that support youth, veterans, public safety workers, Fire and EMS workers, those in rural communities & those in higher education settings as well.

How do we know Mental Health First Aid is effective?

Many people know to call 911 or administer CPR for a physical health emergency but hesitate to start conversations about mental health and substance use. MHFA provides the tools a layperson needs to take action.

Peer-reviewed studies from around the world show that individuals trained in MHFA:
» Expand their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental health and substance use challenges.
» Can identify appropriate types of professionals and self-help resources for individuals with a mental health or substance use challenge.
» Have increased confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress.
» Show increased mental wellbeing themselves.


Mental Health First Aid is included on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Registry of evidence-Based programs and practices (NREPP)

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