Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is the initial help given to a person showing symptoms of mental illness or in a mental health crisis (severe depression, psychosis, panic attack, suicidal thoughts and behaviors) until appropriate professional or other help, including peer and family support, can be engaged.

The program provides a free 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Specifically, participants learn:

  • The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury
  • An understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in their communities
  • A 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care
  • The evidence-based professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem.

The stigma surrounding mental illness often prevents people from seeking help or even acknowledging that they need help. And if they do want help, they don’t know where to turn. Mental Health First Aid equips the public to help persons with mental illness connect to care.

NAMI North Carolina is working with Mental Health First Aid instructors across the state to offer Mental Health First Aid classes in local communities. If you are a MHFA instructor, who would like to offer a class, please contact Brenda Piper, Program Director, or Jennifer Rothman, Young Families Program Director, at 1-800-451-9682 (NC only) or 919-788-0801.

The Mental Health First Aid Course is for:

  • Educators/school administrators
  • College/university leaders
  • Human resources professionals
  • Members of faith communities
  • Homeless shelter staff & volunteers
  • Nurses/Physician Assistants/primary care workers
  • Police/first responders/security personnel
  • Mental health authorities
  • Policymakers
  • Substance abuse professionals

Upcoming Mental Health First Aid Classes

Youth Mental Health First Aid Classes

May 29, 2015 – Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell Street Matthews, NC 28106, 8:30am to 5:00pm – Seating is limited to first 20 people and deadline to register is 5/25. Lunch will NOT be provided. (*funded by NC DHHS/NC DMHDDSAS through Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Funding.). Register is full. Contact Nicholle Karim at Click here for additional information.

*Certificates reflecting 8.0 contact hours of education will be awarded at the completion of the program. This workshop has been approved by NCSAPPB for up to 6.0 hours of GSB and 1.75 of SS.