Become a Mental Health First Aider
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews appropriate supports. This 8-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect people to the appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care. The program also teaches common risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. Mental Health First Aid is included on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
Mental Health First Aid teaches participants a five-step action plan, ALGEE, to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or experiencing an emotional crisis:
- Assess risk of suicide or harm
- Listen non-judgmental
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
- Encourage self–help and other support strategies from peers, family members, and friends.
Like CPR, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. First Aiders do not diagnose or provide any counseling or therapy. Instead, the program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like, “What do I do?” and, “Where can someone find help?” Certified Mental Health First Aid instructors provide a list of community healthcare providers and national resources, support groups and online tools for mental health and addictions treatment and support. All trainees receive a program manual to complement the course material.
4 Reasons to Become a Mental Health First Aider
- Be prepared: When a mental health crisis happens, know what to do
- You can help: People with mental illnesses often suffer alone
- Mental illnesses are common: 1 in 5 adults in any given year
- You care: Be there for a friend, family member, or colleague
Become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor
Did you know you have the ability to save someone’s life? Yes YOU and it won’t cost you anything except your time! Instructors help to spread Mental Health First Aid for Youth and Adults across the country. Instructors are individuals certified to teach the 8-hour course. Most instructors teach the course in their communities.
What Instructors Do: Instructors are on the frontlines of the program and help to train people in their communities in Mental Health First Aid. Certified instructors are required to teach the course at least three times per year. Instructors teach from a national curriculum, tailor discussions to their participants, and compile a list of local resources for help.
Reasons to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor
- Connect - Bring your community, schools and workplace together
- Advocate - Reduce negative attitudes about mental illnesses
- Educate - Build mental health literacy
- Lead - Show others how they can help
Resources and Helpful Links: