Mental Health First Aid the ‘New CPR’

Mental Health First Aid the ‘New CPR’

Most people likely know they can take first-aid and CPR training to help someone in a medical emergency — but did you know you can also learn mental health first aid? It’s an invaluable set of skills that can help anyone identify signs and symptoms of a developing mental health problem and respond in a crisis.

In these times of social isolation, mental wellness is even more important than ever, but many individuals find it difficult to cope. Mental health first aid training can not only give you the skills to help a distressed individual but also break down any stigmas and negative attitudes associated with mental health.

Why Become Trained


Your role as a trained individual is not to provide professional assistance or diagnose someone. Rather, you learn to recognize when someone needs help and how to get professional support for that person. Just like with basic first aid, you’re showing up in a moment of crisis and trying to stabilize the person until help arrives. You can also learn how to intervene before a crisis develops.

In addition to learning to recognize the signs of common problems like depression, anxiety and trauma, training teaches you how to express concern and have meaningful conversation with someone who’s struggling with a mental health issue and how to enact a crisis intervention plan.

Training is inexpensive and is available for individuals as well as groups, including employers. Providing a training program in the workplace can make a huge difference in promoting whole-person wellness and recognizing that whole, happy employees are more fully vested and engaged in their work.

How to Become Trained


The international Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program has trained more than 2 million mental health first aiders across the United States, including professionals in fields such as public safety and education.

MHFA is based on peer-reviewed, research-based evidence. The training, which includes hands-on, practice scenarios, originated in Australia and has since been adopted in many countries. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed and operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Classes are typically hosted in person at various locations in every state, but Mental Health First Aid USA is planning to offer shorter, virtual classes in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

At Ollalla Recovery Centers, all staff have received mental health first aid training. We highly encourage you to consider this program in your workplace or at the individual level. Special courses are also offered for parents, family, caregivers, teachers and others who work with youth and teens.

For more information, visit the Mental Health First Aid USA website.