Mental Health First Aid

The Center is proud to offer the evidence-based program Mental Health First Aid. Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.


Just as CPR helps those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support:

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

Our Nationally Certified Instructors will come to your site to conduct the training. The eight-hour training can be held in two formats: one full eight-hour day or two four-hour days.

There are two types of Mental Health First Aid that are taught by the instructor: Adult and Youth.


The adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

The adult version includes multiple modules that focus on special populations. The Center’s instructor is trained to facilitate the following additional modules:

  • Higher Education
  • Older Adults


Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches the five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders, ADD/ADHD, and eating disorders.

Please note: Mental Health First Aid is designed for the general public and not for mental health professionals.


Interested in attending a MHFA training? The Center hosts both Youth and Adult MHFA trainings on Ohio State University’s main campus. If you’re interested in attending an upcoming training, please click here to indicate your interest.


For more information and/or to obtain a price quote to organize a Mental Health First Aid training for your organization, please contact Colleen at 614-688-2820 or via e-mail at

To learn more about this life-saving training, please visit


The Center for Public Health Practice with the help of the College of Public Health students have created Mental Health Resource Guides for Ohio’s counties. This project was completed as part of the Center’s SAMHSA Mental Health Awareness Training grant.

Please click here to access these free Mental Health Resource Guides.


Contact Hours will be awarded. This activity has been submitted to the Ohio Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. The Ohio Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. (OBN-001-91)

Sponsored by the Center for Public Health Practice (MEP100177), a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., this program is designated for (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 8 total category I contact hours in health education. Maximum advance-level contact hours available are 0.

This continuing education activity has been approved by the Ohio State Board of Sanitarian Registration. Course Number: CE-0000001251 Clock Hours: 8

This course is approved for 8 CPH CE’s.

Please contact Colleen at or 614-688-2820 for more information about contact hours.