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One Mind Pledge FAQ

What is the One Mind Pledge Campaign?
The International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) One Mind Campaign seeks to ensure successful interactions between law enforcement and individuals with mental health challenges. The initiative focuses on uniting local communities, public safety organizations and mental health organizations so that the three become “of one mind.”
Why do public safety officers need to be trained in Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety?
Public safety professionals encounter high levels of stress, trauma and critical incidents, which can take a toll on their mental wellbeing. Untreated mental health challenges can impair decision-making, judgment and situational awareness, potentially jeopardizing both public and professional safety. In fact, 90% of police officers reported stigma as a barrier to seeking help in a national study of police mental health in the U.S. Offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for Public Safety can help to create a healthier, more resilient and productive department.
What is MHFA for Public Safety?
This training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use challenge and help connect them to the appropriate care. This evidence-based training promotes open dialogue, reduces stigma and encourages officers to seek support when needed.
Who should take MHFA for Public Safety?
  • Law enforcement
  • Other first responders
  • 911 dispatchers
What will I learn in MHFA for Public Safety?
The 6.5-hour MHFA training gives officers — whether riding in a squad car or operating a dispatch center — tools to help de-escalate incidents where a person shows signs and symptoms of mental health or substance use challenges. Officers learn how to assess a situation, intervene properly and help someone find appropriate care.

The topics in the course outline include:

  • Signs and symptoms of common mental health and substance use challenges.
  • How to recognize common risk factors and warning signs.
  • Crisis diffusion and follow-up tactics.
  • Affirming and reassurance tactics.
  • How to encourage appropriate help.
  • Self-help and support strategies.
  • How to apply the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan (ALGEE).

All these topics are developed through interactive exercises, scenario work and response to film clips.

How is MHFA for Public Safety making a difference?
Officers trained in MHFA for Public Safety have increased mental health literacy. The program changes how law enforcement perceives and interacts with people with mental health and substance use challenges. “It is no longer acceptable to only have reactive plans to crisis situations,” said retired sergeant Jim Kirk of the Tucson, Ariz., police department. “Mental Health First Aid … helps officers see that although a crime may have been perpetrated, the motivation behind the act may be due to a behavioral issue; therefore, we are responsible for seeking long-term solutions for all involved.”

Because of the extraordinary demands of the job, public safety staff have a higher level of risk for mental health and substance use challenges. MHFA provides peer support to help.

What is the difference between crisis intervention training and MHFA for Public Safety?
MHFA for Public Safety and crisis intervention training (CIT) are complementary; both are part of the IACP One Mind Pledge Campaign. Learn more about how they work together.
Who is already implementing Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety?
Public safety agencies around the nation are adopting and implementing MHFA for Public Safety. Here are some examples:

  • The Philadelphia Police Department requires all recruits to take the course, and it is a prerequisite to entering the CIT program later on.
  • The state of Rhode Island has been training police in MHFA for Public Safety as an elective for years, with the State Legislature making the course a requirement for all sworn officers statewide.
  • The New York Police Department has Instructors on staff throughout New York City as part of the Thrive NYC program and plans to expand training as an elective forcewide.
  • Through a local grant, the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department in North Carolina has trained 100% of their officers in MHFA for Public Safety.
  • Although already a 100% CIT department, the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico uses MHFA for Public Safety as a regular CIT refresher.
  • The New Jersey State Police has trained hundreds of officers in MHFA for Public Safety as an elective for current and future officers.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has trained 100% of its staff — more than 16,000 people. The department accomplished this in one year by training an Instructor at each of their 23 facilities and scheduling regular classes every few months.
  • Even in a sparsely populated state like Wyoming, the Department of Corrections has embarked on a program to train all staff in MHFA for Public Safety at all facilities statewide. Instead of training Instructors at each facility, they have a small team of Instructors who travel throughout the state.
How do we convince other stakeholders like the mayor, city council, city manager and county commissioners to support training all officers in MHFA for Public Safety?
Although the concept of equipping officers and staff with additional tools to respond to peers and individuals experiencing mental and substance use challenges often sells itself, your best approach in getting support is to do some analysis on what untreated mental health conditions cost your department internally as well as in response to external calls. If you could reduce these repeat calls, help your constituents get help and reduce costs associated with untreated mental health conditions, what would that be worth to your leadership? We can also connect you with people in similar departments who have been successful and can help guide you.
How can we get funding to implement MHFA for Public Safety for our officers?
Most departments fund their MHFA for Public Safety classes from their own training budgets, but other sources of funding are available. Some have tapped local private foundations or used federal funds such as those offered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Project AWARE program. Explore our Funding Opportunities web page or download the Grant Writing Toolkit to get started.
How do I find Instructors to train my department in MHFA for Public Safety?
One way to train your staff is to connect with local MHFA Instructors who are already certified and working in your community.

You can also certify your own staff as MHFA Instructors to teach the course internally. You can send staff members to a 3-day Instructor certification course where they learn to teach the curriculum. Email to find out about upcoming certification courses.

How do I learn more?
We are here to help! Visit our MHFA for Public Safety web page, read our MHFA for Public Safety overview flyer or email us at
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