Mental Health First Aid USA

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Great News for All!

Mental Health First Aid USA

Mental Health First Aid updates are finally here! We have been patiently waiting for a long time to be able to announce that the entire course has been updated, mainly based upon your comments and evaluations, instructor ideas, and a whole slew of experts in the fields of psychology, addictions, and learning pedagogy. I think you will find the new Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid  courses to be fantastic!

Do you remember those very old videos?  They have all been replaced by new, up-to-date videos. The new course also has some really fantastic artwork which was done by people who experience mental health issues along with their voice to explain what this meant to each one of them. There are new statistics, new activities (some of the old ones are also still there), and new graphics. The format of everything has been updated to make the course easier for participants to understand, and all of the information now aligns with the current DSM-5 and other official sources.

More Great News: With the advent of COVID-19 and suggested nation-wide social distancing, the National Council for Behavioral Health has also increased the number of ways that we can teach Mental Health First Aid. There are now three (3) training formats, as follows:

In-Person Seminar- We have traditionally taught our courses as a day-long seminar. This  allows us to work in teams with other people and to have very deep discussions and learn best from each other, as well as from the program. We still provide this training format.

Blended Version- The blended version is a hybrid course which splits the course into two (2) parts. Part 1 is a self-paced online training using our new LMS system, and Part 2 is taught in person as a class (half a day). In this format, we can provide all of the benefits of online learning and all of the benefits of being together to do our group discussions and activities.

Virtual (fully online) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, the National Council and the international originators in Australia have okay’d a fully online training. Like the Blended version, Part 1 will be the same self-paced online initial training done by you at home (or where ever you might be). Part 2 will also be online, but it is instructor-led and will use the LMS in conjunction with Zoom meetings, so we can be together to learn, online. The activities have been modified for the blended version to work with online training.

Any of these methods of training will be available for you to become certified in Mental Health First Aid! We are so excited because this will open up possibilities for those who could not come to a class, in person… and also let those who love the in-person class have that opportunity, as well. We can’t wait to see you in class!

Contact us at MHFA@educationwellness.org     if you are interested in taking our virtual course… or if you are in Indiana, Michigan, or Kentucky and want to host a course in your organization/business/school/church/conference center….!

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 www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org 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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