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Mental Health First Aid Doctoral Student Grants

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) USA Doctoral Student Grants represent a commitment by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing to grow the research behind and evaluation of all MHFA programs. Each year, the grant 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.

Our 2021 MHFA Doctoral Student Grant Awardees

Caroline Barry

Second-year PhD student, behavioral, social and health education sciences, Emory University

Mazneen Havewala

Second-year PhD student, school psychology, University of Maryland, College Park

Olivia Khoo

Fourth-year PhD student, school psychology, Columbia University

Melanie Soderstrom

Fifth-year PhD student, criminal justice, University of Central Florida


  • Full-time doctoral student pursuing a degree in psychology, public health, or related field of study.
  • Previous evaluation experience and demonstrated ability to document findings through publications and/or presentations.
  • Documented experience with MHFA (e.g., as an MHFA Instructor or Coordinator) and/or strong interest in MHFA.
  • Bring a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to their research, or explore a population’s experience with an MHFA program and recommend ways to make the curriculum more culturally relevant to that specific group.


Once funded, doctoral grant recipients must:

  • Submit regular research updates to the MHFA team.
  • Participate in quarterly research calls with other grantees.
  • Submit a final report of research findings to the MHFA team within two years of receiving the grant.
  • Participate as a presenter at an MHFA-sponsored event highlighting research.
  • Pursue a formal publication or presentation opportunity. (MHFA- or National Council-sponsored opportunities, such as NatCon, the MHFA Summit or a MHFA Research Symposium, may be allowed).
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