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Research and Evidence Base

View the MHFA U.S.-based Research Summary, which provides an overview of the research conducted on MHFA programs in the U.S. to date!

45 peer-reviewed articles about the efficacy of MHFA have been published in the last 10 years

The peer-reviewed studies conducted show that individuals trained in the program:

  • Increase their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental health and substance use challenges.
  • Can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental health or substance use challenge.
  • Show reduced stigma and increased empathy toward individuals with mental health challenges.
  • Increase their confidence and likelihood to help an individual in distress.
  • Use the skills and information they learn in MHFA to manage their own mental wellbeing.

A recent study, reported in the peer-reviewed Journal of School Health, examines the effectiveness of tMHFA among American adolescents. Similar findings have been discovered by researchers from around the world.

How can you use the MHFA U.S.-based Research Summary? This information can help you:

  • Market your MHFA courses to potential participants.
  • Pitch the program’s importance to your organization or the organizations you work with.
  • Support grant applications to secure funding.
  • Showcase the evidence behind MHFA programs to your local, state and federal policymakers.

For more information on MHFA Research, or to share your research with us, please email


Adult MHFA
  • Studies of Adult MHFA have found that individuals trained in the program show increased mental health literacy and confidence to help someone in distress. Learn more about our Adult MHFA Research Findings here.
Youth MHFA
  • Studies of Youth MHFA have found that individuals trained in the program show increased mental health literacy and confidence to help a young person in distress. Learn more about our Youth MHFA Research Findings here.
teen Mental Health First Aid
  • A study of tMHFA on 1,915 teens across 44 high schools found that after the course, teens showed increased endorsement of helpful intentions and decreased endorsement of unhelpful or harmful intentions toward a peer. Learn more about our teen MHFA Research Findings here.

MHFA Doctoral Student Grants

Each year, the National Council will provide a one-time award of $5,000 to four outstanding full-time doctoral candidates who demonstrate significant potential as researchers in their fields of study and who are interested in evaluating the outcomes of MHFA trainings in the U.S. Learn more!

Mental Health First Aid Research Advisors

Mental Health First Aid USA introduced MHFA Research Advisors in 2021. This advisory group consists of respected mental health research experts who advise and assist Mental Health First Aid USA on ongoing research and future opportunities related to individual programs, including Youth MHFA, teen MHFA, MHFA at Work, and MHFA modules (Veterans, Higher Education, Public Safety, Fire and EMS, and Rural Communities.) This group demonstrates an active commitment to mental health equity through their research and community impact.

Learn more about the members of the MHFA Research Advisors.

Dr. David Albright

University of Alabama

Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson

Columbia University

Dr. Bruno Anthony

University of Colorado
Kimberly Arnold

Dr. Kimberly Arnold

University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Leopoldo Cabassa

Dr. Leopoldo Cabassa

Washington University in St. Louis
Dr. Lisa Curtin

Dr. Lisa Curtin

Appalachian State University
Dr. Jodi Frey

Dr. Jodi Frey

University of Maryland, Baltimore

Dr. Madelyn Gould

Columbia University

Dr. Kimberely Gryglewicz

University of Central Florida
Dr. Patricia Haynes

Dr. Patricia Haynes

University of Arizona
Dr. Douglas Knutson

Dr. Douglas Knutson

Oklahoma State University
Dr. Sarah Ketchen Lipson

Dr. Sarah Ketchen Lipson

Boston University

Dr. Othelia E. Lee

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Dr. Olga Price

George Washington University
Dr. Erika Sabbath

Dr. Erika Sabbath

Boston College
Julie Smith-Yliniemi

Dr. Julie Smith-Yliniemi

University of North Dakota

Dr. Pamela Valera

Rutgers University

Dr. Cixin Wang

University of Maryland – College Park
Angela Wangari Walter

Dr. Angela Wangari Walter

University of Massachusetts – Lowell

Dr. Holly Wilcox

Johns Hopkins University
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