Mental Health First Aid USA Training

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illnesses, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common supports. This 8-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect persons to the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The program also teaches the common risk factors and warning signs of specific types of illnesses, like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Mental Health First Aid is included on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

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 in 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 take on the role of professionals — they 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 compliment the course material.

Program Growth

Mental Health First Aid was introduced in the U.S. in 2008 and, to date, hundreds of thousands of 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 being 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. And in 2014 two specialized versions were introduced, Mental Health First Aid for Veterans and Mental Health First Aid for First Responders.

Mental Health First Aid was included in the Presidents plan to reduce gun violence and increase access mental health services. In 2014 Congress appropriated $15 million to SAMHSA for training teachers and school personnel in the youth version of Mental Health first Aid; and another $15 million is included in the President’s 2015 budget proposal. The Mental Health First Aid (S.153/H.R. 274) has broad bi-partisan support and would authorize $20 million annually for training the American public. Fifteen states have made Mental Health First Aid a priority, appropriating state funds including Texas that has allocated $5 million.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

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 addictions 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 a 5-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 (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

Who Should Attend

This training is open to the public. Each class is limited to 30 people so register early. If you have certified in the last three years you do not need to attend.


8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Lunch included.

Mental Health First Aid training includes 8 hours of content. If you are unable to attend for the entire day of training, please select an alternative date. Participants who do not attend for the full day will not be eligible to receive a certificate of completion. Those obtaining CEUs from attending Mental Health First Aid training will not be elgible for any CEUs if they are not in attendance for the entire 8-hours of content. No partial credit can be awarded. 

Dates / Locations

Adult Programs:

Jan. 29, 2020 - Ingham County MSU Extension Office, 5303 S Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48911 (OPTION IS FULL)
June 15, 2020 - Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, Community Room, 4825 Mt Hope Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823

Youth Programs:
Jan. 8, 2020 - Ingham County MSU Extension Office, 5303 S Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48911 (OPTION IS FULL)
June 18, 2020 - Ingham County MSU Extension Office, 5303 S Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48911

Continued Education Units (CEUs) - 8 hours available

MSU Extension has been approved to provide 8 hours of CEU’s for adult and youth Mental Health First Aid trainings. If you are would like to obtain CEUs through this training, you will be required to enter your social work license number upon registering. You must attend the entire 8-hour training in order to receive any continuing education hours. No partial credits can be awarded.


The cost to attend this training is $50 for non-MSU Extension staff. There is no charge for MSU Extension staff, but a MSU account number will be required upon registering in case of cancellation or no-show.
The cost of obtaining CEU credits through Mental Health First Aid Training is $75 for non-MSU Extension staff. 

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be received four business days prior to the class. Cancellations received less than four days prior to the training date will not be refunded. MSU Extension staff who cancel less than four business days prior to the training or no-show will be charged a $125 cancellation fee.


Abigail Cudney
Health and Nutrition Consortium Coordinator
Michigan State University Extension

Jade Richards
Community Behavioral Health Program Instructor
Michigan State University Extension

Kea Norrell-Aitch
Children and Youth Educator
Michigan State University Extension

For more resources regarding Mental Health First Aid, please go to

The National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health coordinate Mental Health First Aid USA.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For information, contact ANR Event Services at 517-353-3175 or