Mental Health First Aid USA

Mental Health First Aid USA Certification

What is Mental Health First Aid? Think about CPR and First Aid & Safety certifications from the Red Cross. Mental HEalth First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid are certifications on the same level as CPR & First Aid & Safety. The certifying agency is the National Council for Behavioral Health in Washington, DC. The classes take an entire day to complete and are held all over the country.

In Mental Health First Aid (adult certification), We talk about Mental Health in the USA; what to look for so you can identify if something is a serious problem, a challenge, or a crisis; and what to do until you can ensure the person gets the professional help they need. We discuss some of the mental health problems that you see in the general public and how to apply our ALGEE action plan.

There are some special versions of the adult class you can also choose, if you have a special population you either work with or are involved in. These special versions have data and cultural information about that special population. They are pretty great! As of now, the special versions include the following:

  • Fire & EMS (for fire fighters, EMTs, & dispatchers)
  • Public Safety (for police officers, homeland security, agents, dispatchers, & corrections officers)
  • Higher Education (for college students & those who work with college students)
  • Older Adult (for those who work in places like nursing homes and who work with the elderly)
  • Military & Veteran (for military personnel, veterans, and those who work with those populations and their families)
  • Rural (for those who service people who live in areas in which it is difficult to have access to the amenities offered in cities, like country areas, isolated areas, and islands)

The Youth Mental Health First Aid certification is for people who work with or care about children. The youth class is very different than the adult classes. The current research is geared toward adolescence and in the class, we discuss what normal adolescence looks like and compare it to mental illness in youth. You might not be surprised to see that mental illness looks a lot like normal adolescence, so how do you tell the difference? We will show you how to know, as well as look at risk factors, protective factors, signs and symptoms. Finally, like the adult course, we will talk about the ALGEE action plan and how to apply it to all of those sweet little young people.

There are more versions of MHFA in the testing stages, and you will see us growing in the future! Do you need to be certified in MHFA or in YOUTH MHFA? If you are in Indiana, check out our calendar page to find courses that are coming up. If you are somewhere else in the country, go to and click on the “find a class” button to find a class near you.

Mental Health

We have to ask ourselves why there is such a stigma with talking about mental health in 2019. Afterall, every human being will experience a mental health challenge, on occasion. Sometimes that mental health problem becomes so severe that it disrupts our ability to function in at least one important area of life.  This is what we call disability associated with a mental disorder or mental illness.

Studies show that nearly 1 out of 4 adults, at any given time, suffers from a mental health issue so severe that it could be diagnosed as a mental illness. That tells us that each and every one of us probably knows someone who has been touched by a serious mental health problem. Research and experience tell us that when a person identifies a mental health issue and gets help early in its stages, the outcomes for the person are far better than if they do not get the help they need or wait for a long time to ask for help.

As a culture, we need to start talking about mental health issues in our normal every day conversations so that no one has to suffer alone or feels they have to hide and not receive treatments which could be helpful. For most, recovery is possible. Most… let me say that again more loudly… MOST mental health issues can be cured, diminished, or kept from getting worse with early intervention. AT the least, a person may have the chance to learn to function as a productive human despite mental illness.

Let’s have the conversation and get others to start talking about mental health, so everyone can be educated on what the risk factors, warning signs, and symptoms of mental disorders look like. Let’s teach our kids and ourselves coping strategies which can be used when we start to recognize mental health issues are starting, so we can be prepared and know what to look for and what to do. We prepare for tornadoes, hurricanes, and broken legs, so why are we not preparing for mental health problems? After all, this could happen to anyone, even those you love… even to you.

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