Mental Health First Aid

What is Mental Health First Aid Canada?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) 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. From psychological health and safety in the workplace to schools and community groups, MHFA has had a positive and long lasting impact on Canadians from coast to coast. 

Examples of groups that have taken MHFA:

  • Families affected by mental health problems
  • Secondary and post-secondary instructors, counselors, and administrators
  • Health service providers
  • Emergency workers including fire, ambulance, and police services
  • Frontline workers who deal with the public
  • Volunteers
  • Human resources professionals
  • Employers and managers
  • Community groups including new immigrants, homelessness advocates, and chronic disability support services

MHFA is well suited to all workplaces seeking to reduce incidences of mental health problems and issues. Read more

In addition, MHFA is a tool organizations are using to meet the voluntary requirements of the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
Read more

Course Options
Basic Mental Health First Aid

  • 12 hours over two days
  • In-house and public courses
  • 5 day course to become an instructor 

Mental Health First Aid for Adults who Interact with Youth

  • 14 hours over two days
  • In-house and public courses
  • 5.5 day course to become an instructor

Read more

Topics covered include:

  • Substance-related disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Eating disorders (Youth course)
  • Deliberate self-injury (Youth course)

Crisis intervention training provided for:

  • Overdose
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Panic attack
  • Psychotic episode
  • Acute stress reaction

Ongoing Course Development
MHFA continues to create versions of the course that address unique circumstances within the Canadian population.  Working with partners, subject matter experts, and evaluation teams, the following courses are currently in development:

  • Mental Health First aid – First Nations
  • Mental Health First Aid – Northern Peoples
  • Mental Health First Aid – Seniors

Evidence of Impact
MHFA is an international program active in over 20 countries.  Since 2007, over 65,000 Canadians have been trained in MHFA.  International 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

To find a course, book a training, and to read the evidence reviews, please visit


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