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Funding Opportunities

We are pleased to share that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released two funding announcements relevant to Mental Health First Aid. If you are an awardee, here is a toolkit to help you get started.

Any city, county, state government, school, social service agency, faith-based organization, mental health or addiction provider, college or university, hospital or healthcare system, police department, Fire or EMS department or organization servicing veterans or their families are eligible to apply.

Frequently asked questions about funding opportunities

Mental Health Awareness Training Grants

Purpose: This cycle of grants provides almost $16 million in funding to train individuals to:

  1. Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, particularly serious mental illness.
  2. Establish linkages with school- and/or community-based mental health agencies to refer for the appropriate services or supports.
  3. Train any city, county, state government, schools, any social service agency, faith based organization, mental health or addiction provider, college or university, hospital or healthcare system, police department, Fire or EMS department or organization servicing veterans or their families.
  4. Educate individuals about resources that are available in the community for people experiencing mental health or substance use challenges.

MHAT FY 2019 Grantees:

Who Could Apply: Any domestic non-profit organizations including but not limited to foster parents, child welfare workers, juvenile justice workers and judges, sports/recreational workers, homeless shelter staff and front-line staff of local Family Service Centers, Catholic Charities, YWCA and YMCA, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders, community colleges and universities and more.

Additional Information:

  • Up to 126 grants
  • Up to $125,000/year for three years


Webinar: Identifying Opportunities – Mental Health First Aid and Funding Announcements (May 4, 2018)

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will be updated regularly.

Instructor Certification

Who can become an instructor?
Individuals over 18 can become instructors. To teach the youth curriculum, candidates must also specifically work with youth age 12-18 under the specific requirements of the grant.                                           .
Can instructors teach both adult and youth Mental Health First Aid courses?
Yes, instructors are permitted to teach both the adult and youth courses if they are certified in both. Certification is obtained following successful completion of a either a youth or adult 5-day certification course, followed by a 3 day certification course of the other. For example, an instructor may be certified in a full Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor training, then attend the first 3 days of an Adult instructor training.  AWARE-C ONLY: Instructors are not permitted to teach both the Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid course through the Project AWARE grant. Grantees were required to select either Mental Health First Aid or Youth Mental Health First Aid, depending on their proposed population of focus.
What is Provisionally Certified status?
National Trainers will issue a status of Provisionally Certified based on the exam and presentation score earned by a Mental Health First Aid instructor candidate. This category is reserved for those instructors who demonstrate potential and who National Trainers believe will need additional support to deliver the curriculum effectively. Rather than have a binary system of pass or fail for instructor candidates, Mental Health First Aid USA has created a Provisionally Certified status. A document outlining further details regarding Provisionally Certified status is provided to each instructor candidate during the training.
If an Instructor becomes Provisionally Certified, does it mean s/he passed the course?
Yes, this is a passing status and the individual is certified. The Provisional Instructor is awarded a certificate along with all Fully Certified Instructors. Please note the two restrictions that Provisionally Certified Instructors must follow while in this status: 1) Instructors must co-teach with a fully certified instructor at all times and 2) Instructors may not enroll in an expedited Instructor Training for additional Instructor certification (i.e. if an instructor has Provisional status as an Adult Mental Health First Aid, s/he may not apply to become a Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor as a part of an expedited training).
How do I maintain my instructor certification?
Instructors must teach at least three certification courses annually based on their anniversary date to maintain their certification. If an instructor has both adult and youth certifications, they must teach at least one course of each type annually (i.e. two youth courses and one adult course or two adult courses and one youth course).
If I am an instructor, may I certify other instructors?
No, instructor certification only qualifies participants to conduct the 8-hour course. National (“master”) Trainers are the only individuals authorized to certify instructors through a 5-day instructor training offered by the National Authorities of Mental Health First Aid USA.
How do I become a National Trainer?
Mental Health First Aid USA does not currently need additional National Trainers. Certified instructors in good standing and with significant training experience will be invited to apply for any available National Trainer positions should opportunities arise in the future.
Is Mental Health First Aid USA able to provide instructor training at my location?
Instructor training opportunities for will be scheduled throughout 2015. Tuition is a flat rate of $2,000 per person. Should a Project Aware grantee wish to train up to 30 instructors simultaneously, Mental Health First Aid USA can provide training onsite at their location for a flat rate of $35,000. If Project AWARE grantees have 10-15 participants and are interested in hosting an on-site training, please email to discuss an alternative available option.
How do I become certified to teach specific Mental Health First Aid Curriculum Supplements (Veterans, Higher Education, or Public Safety)?
Curriculum Supplements are designed for Mental Health First Aid instructors when training particular audiences which include slides, teaching notes, films, scenarios, and resources and are intended to blend with the 8-hour adult Mental Health First Aid course.
It is best if instructors have some background or connection to these special audiences. If they don’t, instructors targeting a specific audience should partner with a certified instructor with experience with that group.To add a curriculum supplement designation to their profile, instructors must view an orientation webinar and pass the associated quiz. Certified instructors will then be able to purchase the curriculum supplement materials from the Mental Health First Aid Storefront for their designations.


Course Delivery

Once I’m an instructor, how many people can I train at a time?
Courses should have no more than 30 and no less than 10 participants to ensure group participation and interaction.
Can participants leave the course for brief periods of time?
While participants may step out for a couple of minutes for personal reasons, participants missing extended portions do not qualify for having attended the full course.
Can youth be trained as First Aiders?
Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid courses are designed for participants at least 18 years of age. In accordance with Mental Health First Aid policy, all participants must be 18 years of age or older to attend a Mental Health First Aid or Youth Mental Health First Aid class. The Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid course is based on studies of participants 18 and older. The safety and well-being of participants is our top-most priority and currently, evidence outcomes and safety of young adults under the age of 18 has not been proven. Evidence, however, shows that young adults under the age of 18 process information differently, are triggered more easily and have demonstrated a lack of capacity to refer other youth to appropriate professional help and support.
Do instructors have to teach the whole course?
Yes, the entire eight hours of course content must be taught to qualify as a Mental Health First Aid course excluding lunch or breaks; so please allot sufficient training time in the planning process.
Can instructors break the curriculum up into sections?
Yes, the curriculum breaks naturally into two four-hour sections or into four two-hour sections. Typically, instructors either teach the entire course in one day, two four-hour segments over two days, or four two-hour segments over four days.
How much time can elapse between these sections?
Courses taught in two four-hour sections should not be scheduled more than two weeks apart, weekly if taught in four two-hour sections. If course sections must be scheduled further apart, additional time should be added at the start of the next section to review the content and concepts discussed previously.
Can I teach the course alone, or do I need a training partner?
Although an instructor may teach the course alone, instructors should co-teach with another certified instructor. This provides participants with an opportunity to experience different teaching styles and some exercises are more effective when facilitated by a team. Co-teaching also provides flexibility to respond to anyone who needs one-on-one time to process the material due to the sensitive nature of the content. Please note that a maximum of two certified Mental Health First Aid instructors can be credited for teaching any one course.


Course Materials and Evaluation

How big a room do I need and how should it be set up?
Rooms should accommodate: six participants per table (up to 30 participants), a table for materials, projector, screen, a flip chart, and space for additional movement around the room for the interactive exercises.
Do I need to include resource lists?
Instructors are responsible for integrating local resources into each course, frequently referencing them throughout the course, and ensuring each participant leaves the course knowing how to connect with these resources.
Does every participant need a manual?
Yes, each participant must receive a manual to keep as part of the course materials.
When should I order manuals?
For timely delivery, manuals and other materials must be ordered at least two weeks in advance of the course to avoid rush fees.
I coordinate trainings for multiple instructors. How can I gain access to their account so I can enter evaluations on their behalf?
Coordinator access allows a designated individual to add upcoming courses for instructors, manage participant lists and evaluation feedback, and download aggregate data reports. Coordinators are not required to be Mental Health First Aid instructors themselves. To become a coordinator, send the completed Coordinator Access Authorization Form to
Once I have coordinator access, will I be able to purchase manuals and other materials for my organization?
While coordinators have access to instructors’ courses and evaluation data entry, only certified instructors are permitted to purchase materials through the storefront. Instructors who need assistance submitting a bulk purchase thorough the storefront or using a purchase order should contact

Additional Resources

In addition to the information outlined on this website, the following one-page descriptions are available for download.

National data is available here.

To submit a data request, please complete this form and email it to Requests for data will be filled within 7-10 business days.  

Sign up for a Mental Health First Aid class near you.