Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis is resolved.
What is Mental Health First Aid Canada?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), www.mhfa.ca, is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.
Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved.
The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.
Who takes MHFA?
Everyone. Anyone can benefit from MHFA, and more than 300,000 Canadians have been trained already.
From psychological health and safety in the workplace to schools and community groups to people in Northern Canada, MHFA has had a positive and long lasting impact on Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
MHFA is well suited to all workplaces seeking to reduce incidences of mental health problems and issues.
Does MHFA work?
MHFA is an international program active in over 20 countries. Research has shown that this evidence-based course offers significant positive impacts for participants and their workplaces, communities, and families, namely:
— Significantly greater recognition of the most common mental health problems
— Decreased social distance from people with mental health problems
— Increased confidence in providing help to others
— Improved mental health of the MHFA participant her/himself
Register for a MHFA workshop
VIMHS executive director Taryn O’Flanagan has been trained in two specific MHFA areas: Mental Health First Aid Basic; and Mental Health First Aid Adults Who Interact With Youth.
MHFA Basic is intended for adults interacting with adults (18 years and older). This courses focuses on the four most common mental health disorders including substance related, mood related, anxiety and trauma related, and psychotic disorders. Participants who take this course are well prepared to interact confidently about mental health with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces.
MHFA Adults who Interact with Youth is intended for an adult audience whose primary focus is youth (aged 14-25). In addition to the four most common disorders discussed in MHFA BASIC, this course includes instruction about eating disorders and deliberate self-injury. Participants who take this course are well prepared to interact confidently about mental health with the young people in their lives, including at schools, extra-curricular activities, social services, family, friends, and communities.
For more information about MHFA and/or to register for an upcoming course, please email
Taryn O’Flanagan by email–executive.director [at] vimhs.org–or phone at 250-758-8711.
Find out more about the Mental Health Commission of Canada here.