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