Learning Objectives for Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour 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. Just as CPR training helps a layperson without medical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps a layperson assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
The evidence behind Mental Health First Aid demonstrates that it makes people feel more comfortable managing a crisis situation and builds mental health literacy — helping the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness. Specifically, studies found that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes.
Mental Health First Aid certification, which must be renewed every three years, teaches participants to:
- Recognize the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis and psychotic disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury.
- Use a 5-step action plan to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional help.
- Interpret the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced negative attitudes in their communities.
- Apply knowledge of the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem treat and manage the problem and achieve recovery.
- Assess their own views and feelings about mental health problems and disorders.