Mental Health First Aid

What is Mental Health First Aid Training?

Adult Mental Health First Aid program is an interactive session, which runs 8 hours. It can be conducted as a one-day seminar, or two half-day events. The course is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. Mental Health First Aid certification must be renewed every three years, and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.

Who should learn Mental Health First Aid?

A mental health crisis is more common than most people realize. You are more likely to come across a person having a mental health crisis than a person having a heart attack. Where CPR is common and many people have been trained, the same is not true of Mental Health First Aid. It is crucial that we prepare to help our neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers when they need help.

If you are a professional caregiver, police officer, fireman, minister, priest, rabbi, church volunteer, coach, paramedic, case manager, volunteer or paid staff in any of a hundred different kinds of human service organizations, you will very likely have firsthand contact with people that live with mental illness.  Since it is impossible for family doctors, counselors and mental health professionals to know everyone who needs help, the answer to the question: Who needs to know Mental Health First Aid?    Everyone

 In eight hours, you can become a “Mental Health First Aider.”

Mental Health First Aid will hopefully become as common as CPR and First Aid. It has the potential to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, improve mental health literacy, and empower individuals.

In Mental Health First Aid training you will learn:

  • The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, substance use disorders, and self-injury
  • An understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in all communities
  • A 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care
  • The evidence-based professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem

The Mental Health First Aid manual covers:

  • Section One:
    • Mental health problems in the United States
    • Mental Health First Aid
  • Section Two:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Psychosis
    • Substance use disorders
    • Eating disorders
  • Section Three: First aid for mental health crisis
    • First aid for aggressive behavior
    • First aid for a medical emergency from alcohol abuse
    • First aid for children affected by traumatic events
    • First aid for adults affected by traumatic events
    • First aid for panic attacks
    • First aid for non-suicidal self-injury
    • First aid for suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Youth Mental Health First Aid

What is Youth Mental Health First Aid?

Youth Mental Health First Aid is facilitated similarly to Adult Mental Health First Aid, but the curriculum is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people (parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens) how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Who should learn Mental Health First Aid?

A mental health crisis is more common than most people realize. You are more likely to come across a person having a mental health crisis than a person having a heart attack. Where CPR is common and many people have been trained, the same is not true of Mental Health First Aid. It is crucial that we prepare to help our neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers when they need help.

If you are a professional caregiver, police officer, fireman, minister, priest, rabbi, church volunteer, coach, paramedic, case manager, volunteer or paid staff in any of a hundred different kinds of human service organizations, you will very likely have firsthand contact with people that live with mental illness.  Since it is impossible for family doctors, counselors and mental health professionals to know everyone who needs help, the answer to the question: Who needs to know Mental Health First Aid?    Everyone

 In eight hours, you can become a “Mental Health First Aider.”

Mental Health First Aid will hopefully become as common as CPR and First Aid. It has the potential to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, improve mental health literacy, and empower individuals.

In Mental Health First Aid training you will learn:

  • The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, substance use disorders, and self-injury
  • An understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in all communities
  • A 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care
  • The evidence-based professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem

The course uses a 5-letter (ALGEE) acronym summarizing how to note the signs of behavioral health issues and ways to alleviate a situation:

A: Assess for risk of suicide or harm.

L: Listen non-judgmentally.

G: Give reassurance and information.

E: Encourage appropriate professional help.

E: Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid Manual Table of Contents: 

  • Section One: Mental health challenges and disorders in youth
    • Mental health challenges and disorders in youth and young adults in the United States
    • Adolescent development
    • Mental Health First Aid for youth and young adults
  • Section Two: Mental Health First Aid for developing challenges and disorders in youth
    • Depression in young people
    • Anxiety in young people
    • Eating disorders in young people
    • Psychosis in young people
    • Substance use and substance use disorders in young people
    • Attention deficit and disruptive behavior disorders in young people
  • Section Three: Mental Health First Aid for youth in crisis
    • First aid for aggressive behaviors
    • First aid for acute effects of alcohol and drug abuse or misuse
    • First aid for a medical emergency resulting from alcohol abuse
    • First aid for acute psychosis
    • First aid for young adults and adults affected by traumatic events
    • First aid for children and youth affected by traumatic events
    • First aid for panic attacks
    • First aid for non-suicidal self-injury
    • First aid for suicidal thoughts and behaviors

"Be 1 in a Million"

Mental health first aid training began in the United States as part of a small pilot program in 2008 before expanding across the country. Today, the National Council says 500,000 Americans have participated, and the council hopes to reach a goal of 1 million Americans trained by 2017 with its “Be 1 in a Million” campaign launched this year. 

With one in four Americans experiencing a mental health or addiction disorder each year, the National Council is committed to making this important training as common as CPR.
— Susan Blue, National Council board chair and president and CEO of Community Services Group

When somebody is having a heart attack, our first inclination is to call 911. However, when someone has the signs of mental or emotional stress, our first reaction is to withdraw from the situation. Typically, we do not want to address behavioral health issues because they are too personal for intervention or we don’t know what to say.

This is the mentality that the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) wants to change. They have recently trained 50,000 people in their Mental Health First Aid course. It is an eight-hour session that helps people recognize when someone is suffering from mental health or substance abuse and encourages intervention. Laira Roth, the council's project manager for the first aid course, explained that we are more likely to encounter someone who is experiencing behavioral health issues than someone who is facing a physical crisis. In fact, one in four Americans will suffer from mental illness or addiction according to NCBH. In addition, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, with 41,149 deaths in 2013. 

ALGEE is a mnemonic device for Mental Health First Aid’s 5-step Action Plan – and the name of the program’s koala mascot. 

ALGEE origami project

Check below to see how many First Aiders and Instructors there are in the U.S. How does your state stack up?

Check below to see how many First Aiders and Instructors there are in the U.S. How does your state stack up?

Half a million people have taken the Mental Health First Aid Course, including First Lady Michelle Obama. The overall message is that every individual has the ability to help by making a connection with someone who has no one to talk to, suggesting that they seek professional help right way, and by offering ways to make that happen (maybe even helping place the call). Analogous to CPR, these are ways to breathe life into someone who needs help.

The course uses a 5-letter (ALGEE) acronym summarizing how to note the signs of behavioral health issues and ways to alleviate a situation:

A: ASSESS FOR RISK OF SUICIDE OR HARM.

L: LISTEN NON-JUDGMENTALLY.

G: GIVE REASSURANCE AND INFORMATION.

E: ENCOURAGE APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL HELP.

E: ENCOURAGE SELF-HELP AND OTHER SUPPORT STRATEGIES.

For more information on Mental Health First Aid visit: http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org


Youth Mental Health First Aid with The Speedy Foundation

to register

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Cost

FREE


Mental Health First Aid with College of Western Idaho

Details Here                              

Register Here

Schedule

  • October 22, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • December 6 and December 8, 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location

1450 S. Eagle Flight Way, Boise, ID 83709

COST

$125


Mental Health First Aid with Optum Salt Lake County

to register

Contact: Robyn Emery, robyn.emery@optum.com 

schedule

  • November 21

Location

Optum, 2525 Lake Park Blvd., West Valley City, UT 84120

COST

FREE


To schedule a Mental Health First Aid training or to request more information, please complete the form below, or contact: info@thespeedyfoundation.org.

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Meet Our MHFA/YMHFA Trainers

 

Betsy Moynihan

Molly Collins & Betsy Moynihan

Molly Collins & Betsy Moynihan

  • Betsy received her Associate Nursing Degree from St Clair County Community College in 1978 and her BBA from Boise State University in 1984
  • Betsy has worked in the Emergency Departments for over 11 years total at St. Alphonsus RMC and Mercy Medical Center as staff RN, Charge Nurse and as Manager
  • She is going into her 13th year as a School Nurse for the Boise School District, primarily at Title 1 elementary schools
  • Betsy was a co-facilitator for parent groups for the ‘Survival Classes for Students at Risk’ through the Boise School District
  • Current member of NAMI Boise. Completed the Family-to- Family Education Program Sponsored by NAMI Boise in December 2013. Co-facilitates for Boise NAMI Family and Friends Support Group
  • Attended Instructor LEAP Training with Dr. Xavier Amador, founder of LEAP Institute in New York, November 2014
  • Certified Instructor of Adult Mental Health First Aid through the National Council for Behavioral Health, March 2016, sponsored by The Speedy Foundation
  • Betsy became involved in mental health education after losing her son to suicide in 2011

Molly Collins

  • Molly received her Bachelor in Science In Psychology from Oregon State University, (go Beavs!) in 2012
  • She attended an Instructor LEAP Training with Dr. Xavier Amador, founder of LEAP Institute in New York, November 2014
  • Certified Instructor of Adult Mental Health First Aid through the National Council for Behavioral Health, March 2016, sponsored by The Speedy Foundation
  • Current member of NAMI Boise and SE Portland
  • Molly became involved in mental health education after losing her brother to suicide in 2011
Shannon Decker and her Chicago YMHFA training group at graduation

Shannon Decker and her Chicago YMHFA training group at graduation

Shannon Decker

  • Shannon received her BA in Liberal Arts and teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University in 2005 and her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Idaho in 2014
  • Shannon has ten years of private and public teaching and administrative experience in Idaho, Nevada and California. She has taught: kindergarten, second grade, high school English, special education, alternative education, and worked as a K-12 administrator
  • Shannon ran an extra curricular program called K-Kids, through the Kiwanis Club and Meridian School District for students grades 4 & 5 from 2007-2010 which focused on service-learning 
  • "Know the Signs" trainer and member of the Truckee Tahoe Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition from 2013-2015
  • Certified Instructor of Youth Mental Health First Aid through the National Council for Behavioral Health, July 2016, sponsored by The Speedy Foundation
  • Active in the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition, Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, & Summit County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Shannon became involved in mental health education after losing her cousin to suicide in 2011
Mike Ruzek & Jana Johnson @ MHFA training Christina Shiebler photographer

Mike Ruzek & Jana Johnson @ MHFA training

Christina Shiebler photographer

Jana Johnson, Mike Ruzek, & Christina Shiebler

  • Certified Instructors of Adult Mental Health First Aid through the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2013, sponsored by The Speedy Foundation
  • Jana, Mike and Christina brought the MHFA curriculum to the attention of The Speedy Foundation and are considered the grandfathers of TSF's connection to this powerful piece of education, THANK YOU!
  • This group become involved in mental health education after losing their friend and teammate to suicide in 2011

If you are interested in becoming a certified MHFA or YMHFA trainer, we'd like to help! Fundraisers and direct donations can be accepted through our non-profit and then granted back to cover the cost to become a certified trainer. 

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.

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.

find out more here


Mental Health First Aid Research  


Who Supports MHFA?

Now Is the Time: The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence, President Obama calls for Mental Health First Aid training to help teachers and school staff recognize the signs of mental health disorders in young people and find them appropriate care.

Mental Health First Aid State Policy Toolkit HERE

The Mental Health First Aid Act: 
The Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015 (S. 711/H.R. 1877) authorizes $20 million for Mental Health First Aid. Under this funding, participants would be trained in:

  • Recognizing the symptoms of common mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
  • De-escalating crisis situations safely.
  • Initiating timely referral to mental health and substance abuse resources available in the community.
  • Training programs under this project would be offered to emergency services personnel, police officers, teachers/school administrators, primary care professionals, students, and others with the goal of improving Americans’ mental health, reducing stigma around mental illness, and helping people who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm and referring them to appropriate treatment. Studies have shown that Mental Health First Aid successfully increases help provided to others and guidance to professional help, and improves concordance with health professionals about treatment.

The Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 711/H.R. 1877) was introduced in the Senate by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and in the House by Congresswomen Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Doris Matsui (D-CA).


We have to break the silence for those who suffer and engage veterans, service members and their families reluctant to seek help. In this time of global turmoil, we can no longer allow the care of our military and veteran’s behavioral health to take the backseat. It’s time for change and action — by empowering ourselves to help others, using the tools we have at our disposal, like Mental Health First Aid.
— National Council for Behavioral Health's President and CEO, Linda Rosenberg
The National Council for Behavioral Health will be training three million people in Mental Health First Aid. I went through some of this training a few weeks ago…and I saw just how useful it is. It really gives you the skills you need to identify — and ultimately help — someone in need. Because you never know when these kinds of skills might be useful.
— First Lady Michelle Obama
Bias against people with mental illness is not unique in our time or our Nation. But as a nation founded on the idea of equality, we must use our time to change it.
— Former President Bill Clinton
Too many people with mental illness don’t seek treatment that can change their lives, and the vicious cycle of silence, ignorance, and stigma continues. If we are ever going to put an end to this vicious cycle, we have to take responsibility and dispel the myths about mental illness once and for all.
— Tipper Gore

I really want people to understand that anyone and everyone can be a healer. It’s so important, especially for your friends and family members, to be conscious and aware of that. Who knows a loved one dealing with mental illness better than their family, right? You know what that person is capable of. You know how to calm them. If you have an understanding of what the challenge is, you can begin to help heal. That’s why mental-health first aid is so important. Everyone can be a healer, but you do have to have some basic understanding of how someone might be afflicted.

And I think that by taking mental-health first-aid classes, people become less prejudiced. They see people differently, and they have a better understanding of their own health as well. We become more cognizant of issues like anxiety or the ability to regulate your behavior. And that’s important because life is tough. It might only be a matter of time before something happens and you need to fall back on those skills.
— Chirlane McCray, First Lady of NYC

Partners in Mental Health First Aid

Optum Idaho Partnership 2014-2015: MHFA trainings across the state of Idaho 2016-Current: 'Paper Tigers' screenings across the state of Idaho

Optum Idaho Partnership

2014-2015: MHFA trainings across the state of Idaho

2016-Current: 'Paper Tigers' screenings across the state of Idaho

Optum Salt Lake County Partnership 2015-Current: MHFA & QPR trainings in Salt Lake County

Optum Salt Lake County Partnership

2015-Current: MHFA & QPR trainings in Salt Lake County

College of Western Idaho Partnership 2016-Current: MHFA requirement for CNA on behavioral track

College of Western Idaho Partnership

2016-Current: MHFA requirement for CNA on behavioral track

FACES Family Justice Center Partnership 2016-Current: MHFA trainings held at FACES facility 

FACES Family Justice Center Partnership

2016-Current: MHFA trainings held at FACES facility 

Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Partnership 2014-2015: Project Big Air 2016-Current: MHFA trainings held at UOLF facilities

Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Partnership

2014-2015: Project Big Air

2016-Current: MHFA trainings held at UOLF facilities


Since 2013, The speedy foundation has collaborated with partners to provide the following trainings:

MHFA Participants trained

The Speedy Foundation has contributed to the training of 313 people / 1,000,000 "Be One in a Million" goal

MHFA Training

Total MHFA trainings as of July 2016: 18 | Total QPR trainings as of July 2016: 3

Funding for Mental Health First Aid