Mental Health First Aid Frequently Asked Questions


What is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)?

MHFA is certification training course designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Is there evidence to support the effectiveness of the program?

The U.S. federal government lists Mental Health First Aid in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Studies have found that people trained in Mental Health First Aid reduce negative perceptions and attitudes about people with mental illnesses and addictions. Mental Health First Aiders have more confidence in helping others and a greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help.

Who should take a Mental Health First Aid course?

Mental Health First Aid is intended for a variety of audiences: friends and family of individuals with mental illness or addiction, public safety, businesses and primary care workers, school and college leadership, faith communities, or anyone interested in learning more about mental illness and addiction. Not sure? Just ask us!

How many days does it take to complete the Mental Health First Aid program?

The Adult and Youth (English) classes are usually conducted as a two-day seminar (4.5 hours each day), two half-day events spaced over a short period of time. The Spanish Adult class is conducted as a two full-day seminar (7.5 hours each day), or four sessions of three hours each spaced over a short period of time.

Can I set up a customized MHFA class specifically for my job, organization, church etc.?

Yes, you can request a customized class.

What types of crisis interventions are covered?

Trainees are taught how to apply the 5-step strategy in situations such as helping someone through a panic attack, engaging with someone who may be suicidal, or assisting an individual who has overdosed. Mental Health First Aid training provides the opportunity to practice the intervention strategy rather than to just learn about it. This simple experience can make it easier to actually apply the knowledge in a real-life situation.

What does it cost to take the class?

The class fee is $25 which covers materials. Fairfax County employees are sponsored by LiveWell program which pays the fee for materials.

Check for available classes and
register online for a
Mental Health First Aid course

Mental Health First Aid logo

Read the Mental Health First Aid description.


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