What is Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training introduces participants to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use concerns, builds understanding of their impact, and gives an overview of common treatments and resources.
Three MHFA courses are available:
- Adult MHFA – for participants 18 and older. This course teaches adults how to recognize and support other adults who experience a mental health or substance use issue.
- Youth MHFA – for participants 18 and older. This course teaches adults how to recognize and support children and youth who experience a mental health or substance use issue.
- teen MHFA – This course teaches tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade participants how to recognize and support other teens who experience a mental health or substance use issue.
Public school employees and employees of public and private higher education institutions can receive MHFA training for free through their Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) or Local Behavioral Health Authority (LBHA).
To learn more, download the Mental Health First Aid informational flyer (PDF).
Find a Course
Each Local Mental Health Authority and Local Behavioral Health Authority conducts training in its own service area. The search at Where Can I Find Services? will help you locate the LMHA or LBHA in your area.
If you are a public school district employee, you can look up the Local Mental Health Authority for your school district here (Excel).
Mental Health First Aid Participant Experiences
At the end of the first teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) session hosted by Hill Country, a student approached one of the teen instructors and told her she might not be back for the second session. She said her mother was concerned her grades would slip because she was missing a core subject to attend the MHFA sessions, and her mother wanted her to return to class.
At the next session, the student told the instructor that over the weekend, her cousin reached out to her because she was having thoughts of suicide. She told her mother, and they talked with the cousin’s family and got her the support and help she needed. The student said the experience caused her mother to have a change of heart about the MHFA training, and she was allowed to return for the duration of the sessions.
- teen MHFA instructor
“We had a student who was hesitant to take the training on Day One. The student was verbally offensive about us being there. By Day Three, the student felt comfortable coming to us and discussing her problems. We helped her connect with her counselor and to resources to help her immediately. The student later commented, ‘I think it’s incredible that we can normalize talking about mental health. I struggle with it personally and always feel like my friends don’t understand me and think I overreact.’”
- tMHFA Instructor
“I attended a zoom Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for my school district a few weeks ago and would like to tell you about it. First, let me begin by saying it was so worth my time. The presenters were very personable and made me feel at ease. [It was] a very informal setting, where even the most timid (like me usually) would feel comfortable participating.
The presenters took turns, kind of “tag teaming,” and supported each other when necessary.
I learned so much and was able to use my skills the following week when I observed one of my junior high students looking very upset. I would highly recommend this training to anyone who loves working with children and cares about their mental health.”
- Prairie Lea ISD Attendee