Mental Health First Aid

Get Involved & Make a Difference

Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help

Mental Health First Aid is an eight hour program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  It is a public education and prevention tool that connects people with care for and improves knowledge of mental health problems.  Mental Health First Aid USA is taught by certified instructors. Classes are taught at the Compass Health Federal Avenue Campus in Everett open to the community, by contract and by contract at your site. Class size is 12 to 30 participants.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour public education program which benefits anyone working with or parenting youth ages 12-25. It introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly – teaches individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.  Youth Mental Health First Aid USA is taught by certified instructors. Classes are taught at the Compass Health Federal Avenue Campus in Everett open to the community, by contract and by contract at your site. Class size is 12 to 30 participants.

Contact us about bring Mental Health First Aid or Youth Mental Health First Aid to your organization: compasstraining@compass.org.

Compass Health has contracts with North Sound Behavioral Health and Providence St. Joseph Health that allow for discounted community class pricing.

Watch this inspiring video about how you can be the difference.

Course Details

Mental Health First Aid teaches participants a five-step action plan, ALGEE, to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or experiencing an emotional crisis:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Like CPR, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. First Aiders do not diagnose or provide any counseling or therapy. Instead, the program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like, “What do I do?” and, “Where can someone find help?” Certified Mental Health First Aid instructors provide a list of community healthcare providers and national resources, support groups and online tools for mental health and addictions treatment and support. All trainees receive a program manual to complement the course material.

Program Growth

Mental Health First Aid was introduced in the U.S. in 2008 and, to date, more than 1 million people from all 50 states,the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have taken the course. The course is offered to a variety of audiences, including hospital staff, employers and business leaders, faith communities and law enforcement. Approximately 400 people are trained each day, with that number expected to increase.

In 2012, Youth Mental Health First Aid was introduced to prepare trainees to help youth ages 12-18 that may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge.

Mental Health First Aid was included in the President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence and increase access to mental health services. In 2014, Congress appropriated $15 million to SAMHSA to train teachers and school personnel in Youth Mental Health first Aid; in 2015 an additional $15 million was appropriated to support other community organizations serving youth. The Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015 (S. 711/H.R. 1877) has broad bi-partisan support and would authorize $20 million annually for training the American public. For more information or questions about Mental Health First Aid please visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org.

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