Mental Health First Aid


You may know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. You can call 911. But can you administer first aid in a mental health crisis?

It’s easy to tell when someone is having a heart attack, is choking, or can’t breathe. But what does depression look like? Or anxiety? What would you say to a person you know who says they are thinking about suicide? How can you help in a panic attack?


What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. People across the country—in all 50 states and the District of Columbia—are trained in MHFA. They know how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and addictions. The program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like “What can I do?” and “Where can someone find help?”

You are more likely to encounter someone—friend, family member, student, neighbor, or member of the community—in an emotional or mental health crisis than someone having a heart attack. Mental Health First Aid teaches a 5 step action plan to offer initial help to anyone showing signs of a mental illness or crisis and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self-help care.

Studies show that individuals trained in MHFA increase their knowledge of signs, symptoms, and risk factors of mental illness and addictions; can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources; increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress; and show reduced social distance to individuals with mental illness.

Anyone can take the Mental Health First Aid course.

A person you know could be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. You could help them. Sometimes the best first aid is you. Take the course, save a life, strengthen your community.

Mental Health First Aid: Mental Health First Aid ( MHFA) is the help offered to a person developing a metal health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. First aid is given until appropriate treatment and support are received. MHFA teaches the public how to recognize symptoms of mental health challenges, how to offer and provide initial assistance and how to guide a person towards appropriate treatment and supportive help. MHFA does not teach lay people to be therapist.

What about our youth?

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach neighbors, teachers, parents, peers, and caring citizens how to help a youth or teen who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or is in crisis. The course discusses mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and provides guidance through the ALGEE action plan for both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered in the manual include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

Training classes are offered to local educators and others working with youth at no cost. Call 479-750-2020 for more information.


  1. To be prepared. Just as you learn CPR,learn how to help in a mental health crisis
  2. Mental illnesses are common. One in five young persons will have a mental health challenge during their youth.
  3. You care: Be there for a student, family member, or other youth
  4. You can help: Youth with mental difficulties frequently lack stable, caring influences and often suffer alone