Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.
More than 600,000 people across the United States have been trained in Mental Health First Aid by a dedicated base of more than 9,000 instructors.
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Mental Health First Aiders are…
Teachers, first responders and veterans. They’re neighbors, parents and friends. They’re people in recovery, and those supporting a family member. They’re First Ladies and Mayors. Mental Health First Aiders are anyone who wants to make their community healthier, happier and safer for all.
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.
When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get to the help they may need. Mental Health First Aiders can even save lives.
View more success stories from trained Mental Health First Aiders here.
Mental Health First Aid was created in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. Kitchener and Jorm run Mental Health First Aid Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research. More information on the history of the course is available at Mental Health First Aid Australia.
The United States is just one of the many countries that have adapted the program from Australia. Check out the other countries at Mental Health First Aid International.
Mental Health First Aid USA is operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health.