MHAW A Project of the Association for Mental Health & Wellness

About Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is an in-person training that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis.

Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack — even if you have no clinical training — Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health related crisis.

 In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. We call this mental health literacy – or a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how they can affect a person’s daily life and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges get well.

You will learn about:

  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma
  • Psychosis
  • Substance use disorders

Mental Health First Aid Training teaches the 5 step “ALGEE” Mental Health First Aid action plan to be used in a variety of mental health situations. The steps are:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better and use their strengths to stay well.