Mental Health First Aid LogoMental Health First Aid

You are more likely to encounter a person in an emotional crisis than someone having a heart attack. Would you know what to do?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a 8-hour training certification course designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Research evidence demonstrates that participating in the course improves knowledge of mental health conditions, reduces stigma, and increases the amount of help provided to others—helping the public identify, understand and respond appropriately to signs of mental illness. Like CPR training helps a non-medical professional assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps an individual who doesn’t have clinical training assist someone who’s experiencing mental health difficulties.

Mental Health First Aiders learn to apply a single strategy in helping someone through a panic attack, engaging with someone who may be suicidal, supporting a person experiencing psychosis and helping an individual who has overdosed.

The MHFA five-part action plan is known as A-L-G-E-E:

A ssess for risk of suicide or harm

L isten non-judgmentally

G ive reassurance and information

E ncourage self-help and other support strategies

E ncourage appropriate professional help

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health worked with the program’s founders to bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. and now administer its operation in this country.

DBSA is proud to offer Mental Health First Aid training courses facilitated by teams of people with the lived experience of mental health conditions—the ultimate experts—and clinicians to train key members of the public in Mental Health First Aid skills. This partnership between those who live with these conditions and those who seek to support their recovery adds immeasurably to the legitimacy and power of this public education effort. For more information on Mental Health First Aid, visit

How to Participate

Sponsor a DBSA-delivered Mental Health First Aid course in your area. DBSA trains groups of 10-30 on a contract basis. Request additional information.

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