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Certification Process

You must be certified by Mental Health First Aid USA to teach either the adult or youth Mental Health First Aid course. Certification is achieved through a 5-day interactive training. Individuals, not organizations, receive instructor certification.

What You Learn

Instructor certification training introduces the 8-hour course, overviews adult learning styles and teaching strategies, and provides in-depth instruction on implementing and managing the program in diverse communities.

The 5-day training teaches you how to:

  • Teach the Mental Health First Aid course, including the 5-step action plan, evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies, and prevalence data.
  • Present the program with fidelity to the tested, core model.
  • Apply the program to a range of adult learning styles.
  • Tailor presentations to diverse audiences and learning environments.

Instructor certification is awarded specifically for both the adult and youth courses. If you want to teach both types of courses, you must first certify as an instructor through a 5-day training (for one course type), and then go through a 2.5-day training for the other course type you want to teach.

Training Format

National Trainers guide candidates through the five-day training with an emphasis on coaching and preparing candidates to be ambassadors of Mental Health First Aid. Courses typically run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, with dedicated time on day three for independent preparation for presentations delivered on days four and five. On the fourth and fifth day of the training, each instructor candidate will present and teach an assigned portion of the eight-hour course to the group. The National Trainers will conduct an individual evaluation of each candidate, and each candidate will provide a peer review for their colleagues.

Certification is not guaranteed for all participants. To become certified, participants must be present for the entire training, satisfactorily deliver the presentation and pass a written exam.

Training Cost

Tuition for the 5-day instructor course is $2,000 per person ($1,850 for National Council members), and is inclusive of the 5 days of instruction, breakfast and lunch, materials needed to teach the 8-hour course, and ongoing technical assistance once certified, unless otherwise noted. Tuition for the two-and-a-half day course is $950 per person ($850 for National Council members), unless otherwise noted.

Payment guidelines are provided once your application has been accepted for a particular program. Payment is NOT required at the time of application, but is required at least one month prior to the training.

Apply for a Training

If you are interested in attending an instructor training, you must apply. Selection criteria, course tuition, and instructor expectations are outlined within the application.

No specific academic or professional credentials are required for instructor applicants. However, candidates should have knowledge of or experience with mental health problems (either personally, professionally, or both), prior experience in training adult learners, and commitment and capability to roll out Mental Health First Aid in the community.

Mental Health First Aid USA has trained and certified instructors from community mental health and addictions treatment organizations, state departments of health, universities, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, faith-based organizations, police and criminal justice, developmental disability centers, mental health authorities, other mental health advocacy organizations including Mental Health America and NAMI affiliates, and independent trainers.  Qualified instructors may come from all levels of an organization – including CEOs and front-line staff – but should be whoever will be the best advocate for the program in your area.


Individuals planning to conduct the course independently of an established organization must also submit one letter of reference. Please see our letter guidelines.

Questions about the certification process? Email

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