If you’ve taken a physical First Aid course, you’ve learned the skills needed to help someone experiencing a sudden illness or injury. People can also have mental health crisis, and it is important that more Canadians know how to provide help in these situations, too.


If I sprain my ankle, chances are you’ll know what to do. If I have a panic attack, chances are you won’t.

Mental Health First Aid* is a 2-day certification-training program by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and is part of The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in The Workplace. This training is currently the only international mental health training program that is being delivered in 21 countries around the world and growing.

Mental Health First Aid is offered to someone with an emerging mental health problem or in a mental health crisis until appropriate treatment is found or the situation is resolved.

What you can expect from this course:

  • Gain the confidence and skills to engage someone with an emerging mental health problem or in a mental health crisis;
  • Greater recognition of mental health problems;
  • Decreased stigma; and
  • Improved mental health for yourself.
Bring Mental Health First Aid to your school, workplace, and community organizations.


Contact us for more detailed course information, rates and availability.

Aims and Objectives

MHFA Basic is intended for adults interacting with adults (18 years and older). This courses focuses on the four most common mental health disorders including substance related, mood related, anxiety and trauma related, and psychotic disorders. Participants who take this course are well prepared to interact confidently about mental health with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces.

Aims and Objectives

Mental health first aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis is resolved.

Mental Health First Aid Basic is a 12-hour course focused on adults interacting with adults in all environments. The course discusses the following mental disorders:

  • Substance related disorders
  • Mood related disorders
  • Anxiety and trauma related disorders
  • Psychotic disorders

Crisis first aid skills for the following situations are learned:

  • Substance overdose
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Panic attack
  • Acute stress reaction
  • Psychotic episode
MHFA aims to:
  • Preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others.
  • Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state.
  • Promote the recovery of good mental health.
  • Provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem.
The Course

Mental Health First Aid Canada course is comprised of the following contents:

  • Explanations of mental health, mental illness and mental health problems
  • Signs and symptoms of common mental health problems and crisis situations
  • Information about effective interventions and treatments
  • Ways to access professional help
Outline of the course


Session One: Mental Health and Mental Health Problems
  • What is Mental Health First Aid?
  • Common mental health problems
  • Five basic actions of mental health first aid
  • Stigma and discrimination?
  • What is a substance-related disorder?
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Risk factors
  • MHFA for substance-related problems
  • Crisis first aid for overdose
  • Treatment and resources
Session Two: Mood Disorders
  • What is a mood disorder?
  • Types of mood disorders
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Risk factors
  • Substance use and mood disorders
  • Suicide in Canada
  • MHFA for mood problems
  • Crisis first aid for suicidal behaviour
  • Treatment and resources


Session Three: Anxiety and Trauma Related Disorders
  • What are anxiety and trauma related disorders?
  • Types of anxiety and trauma related disorders
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Risk factors
  • Substance use and anxiety disorders
  • MHFA for anxiety and trauma related problems
  • Crisis first aid for panic attacks
  • Crisis first aid for acute stress reactions
  • Treatment and resources
Session Four: Psychotic Disorders
  • What is a psychotic disorder?
  • Types of psychotic disorders
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Risk factors
  • Substance use and psychotic disorders
  • MHFA for anxiety problems
  • Crisis first aid for psychotic episodes
Why Take MHFA Canada?

Mental health problems are common, especially depression, anxiety and misuse of alcohol and other drugs. One person in three will experience some form of problem with their mental health at some point in their life.

There is a stigma associated with mental health problems. This may hinder people from seeking help. People are often ashamed to discuss mental health problems with family, friends and work colleagues. They may also be reluctant to seek professional help for such problems because of their concerns about what others will think of them.

Many people are not well informed. Understanding how to recognize mental health problems and what effective treatments are available is not widespread. With greater community awareness, people will be able to recognize their own or others’ problems and feel more comfortable about seeking professional assistance.

Professional help is not always on hand. Family doctors, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists can all assist people with mental health problems. However, just as with accidents and other medical emergencies, such assistance is not always available when a problem first arises. This is when members of the public can offer immediate aid and support the person until they get appropriate professional help.

People may lack the insight to realize they need help or that help is available. Some mental health problems cloud clear thinking and good decision-making. A person experiencing such problems may not realize that they need help or that effective help is available for them. They may be in such a state of distress and not able to think clearly about what they should do.

Workplace First Aid Includes Mental Health

Mental Health First Aid 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 provided until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.

Colleagues and managers are best placed to be the first to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in their co-workers, provided they are properly trained in Mental Health First Aid.

MHFA trained employees will help equip your organization to:

  • Recognize and understand the symptoms of mental health problems, including those related to substance abuse
  • Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state
  • Promote the recovery of good mental health by accommodating employees in distress or recovering from a crisis
  • Increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and overall pressure on benefits

Evidence has shown that individuals who complete the 12-hour basic course have:

  • Significantly greater recognition of the most common mental health illnesses and problems
  • Decreased social distance from people with mental health illnesses or problems
  • Increased confidence in providing help to others
  • Demonstrated increase in helpful actions

Employers who set a strategic direction for improving mental health are rewarded with dramatic cost and effectiveness benefits, enjoying significant and sustainable enhancements in:

  • Productivity: happy and psychologically healthy employees work harder and more efficiently
  • Recruitment and Retention: today’s top-quality employees expect a workplace that supports their personal and professional growth
  • Cost Savings due to Disability and Absenteeism: there is a strong link between mental health, physical well-being and injury prevention
  • Conflict Reduction: better mental health among employees means fewer grievances and complaints and a stronger corporate reputation
  • Operational Success: mentally healthy workplaces are characterized by higher levels of employee motivation, commitment, innovation and creativity, as well as fewer errors, better decision making and improved planning.

* MHFA Canada is an evidence based program of The Mental Health Commission of Canada.