Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a public health education curriculum that teaches the skills needed to identify, understand, and respond to signs of behavioral health challenges or crises. It is designed to increase behavioral health awareness and decrease misperceptions and stigma associated with behavioral health issues. Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 8-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and 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 8-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.
- Review potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, substance use disorders, and self-injury
- Identify a 5-step action plan to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate care and supports
- Develop understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma
- Develop familiarity with the range of appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem challenge
Anyone can become a Mental Health First Aider! This includes staff of hospitals and health centers, employers and human resource staff, faith communities, schools/universities, nursing home staff, individuals who have experienced behavioral health challenges, family members, service providers and support staff, neighborhood organizations, and any other concerned citizens. BHTEN provides MHFA trainings as part of a larger, city-wide initiative to train as many Philadelphians in MHFA as possible. The training is available at many other locations throughout the city. Go to www.healthymindsphilly.org for more details.
Participants must be present for the full 8 hour curriculum, and pass a quiz, and complete an evaluation form in order to receive their First Aider certificate.