703-383-8500 TTY 711
8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Daryl Washington
Executive Director

Mental Health First Aid

Get involved and make a difference

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program offered by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board that can help communities understand mental illnesses, seek timely intervention, and save lives.

About 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. in a given year has a diagnosable mental illness. Symptoms of mental illness can be difficult to detect – and even when friends and family can tell that something is wrong, they may not know how to help.

Mental Health First Aid:

  • Introduces to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems,
  • Builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and
  • Most importantly, teaches how to help someone who is in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge.

Mental Health First Aid is now virtual. The overall course is eight (8) hours, which includes two (2) hours of self-paced pre-work and six (6) hours live virtual training. Available courses:

Mental Health First Aid adult course icon  Mental Health First Aid youth course icon 

In addition to courses that are available for individual enrollment, you can also request a customized group Mental Health First Aid course.

There is a $25 materials fee for these courses. Fairfax County government employees attend free of charge.

Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – rather, participants gain concrete tools and answers to key questions like "What can I do?" and "Where can someone find help?" and a core five-step action plan to support someone developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in an emotional crisis.

The following courses are currently not available in person due to COVID-19: Mental Health First Aid for Higher Ed, Adult Mental Health First Aid in Spanish, and Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety. When these courses are available again, details will be posted here.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant