Mental Health First Aid
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID?
Mental Health First Aid is a 12-hour training course designed to give members of the public important skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as CPR training helps a layperson without medical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps an individual assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
The 12-hour Mental Health First Aid USA course has benefited a variety of audiences and key professions, including hospital staff, employers and business leaders, faith communities, school personnel, state police and corrections staff, nursing homes, mental health authorities, state policy makers, young people, families and the general public.
The North Carolina Evidence Based Practices Center at Southern Regional AHEC is working to build mental health literacy among health care professionals, parents, families, school administrators, law enforcement officers, business leaders, and human resources professionals.
IDENTIFY AND RESPOND
Mental Health First Aid is just one part of the spectrum of interventions for preventing mental health problems and helping people with mental health disorders. Different types of interventions are appropriate for these states of mental health. For the person with mild symptoms, prevention programs are appropriate. For the person who is moving toward a mental disorder, early intervention approaches can be used. For a person who is very unwell with a mental disorder, a range of treatment and support approaches are available to assist the person in the recovery process.
The aims of Mental Health First Aid are to:
- Preserve life when a person may be a danger to self and others
- Provide help to prevent the problem from becoming more serious
- Provide comfort and support.
Mental Health First Aid teaches the public how to recognize symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate treatments and other supportive help.
Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to be therapists, but introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments.
Those who take the 12-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
In any first aid course, participants learn an action plan to help someone who is injured or ill. The mnemonic used for Mental Health First Aid is A L G E E, which means to:
- A ssess for risk of suicide or harm
- L isten nonjudgmentally
- G ive reassurance and information
- E ncourage appropriate professional help
- E ncourage self-help and other support strategies
Mental Health First Aid participants learn about appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem treat and manage the problem and achieve recovery. Studies found that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes.
The NC EBP Center offers this 12-hour Mental Health First Aid course for you individually or for your organization.
For information on scheduled MHFA trainings, please go our Brochures page.
A WORD FROM OUR TRAINERS
The Mental Health First Aid training reminded me of key behavioral health issues troubling America and immediate intervention that anyone can be trained to do for someone experiencing a crisis. Not only did I benefit from the MHFA training, but I gained insight from others on this valuable training
– Evelyn Clemmons, RN
My experience with Mental Health First Aid Training has been great! What I enjoy most is that it empowers individuals to positively impact the lives of others around them. It takes a problem that affects everyone and provides an opportunity for everyone to assist with providing the solution. It utilizes the greatest assets and resources we will ever have - people!
– Robert Wilson, MA