If they sprain their ankle, chances are you’ll know what to do. If they have a panic attack, chances are you won’t.
If you’re worried about your teen or tween’s mental health but are unsure how to help them, you’re in the right place.
Mental Health First Aid will help you feel confident and prepared to handle any mental health situation that comes your way.
How It Works
- 1 -
Choose your virtual training date
- 2 -
Complete a self-directed online
module within 2 weeks of your live
training start date.
(approximately 2 hours)
- 3 -
Attend live online training with a certified
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor.
(Two 4-hour sessions)
“Should be a requirement”
“This course was very informational, practical, and enjoyable. I believe it should be a requirement just as the traditional first aid courses are. If it were more widely available I would certainly encourage my employees to attend.”
“Really great refresher on mental health disorders along with the first aid aspect – great tools to add to my toolbox”
“Knowledgeable and empathetic”
“Excellent instructors! Very knowledgeable and were empathetic. They quickly created a safe space where we were able to discuss course content and personal experiences freely! Thanks :)”
From the Mental Health Commission of Canada …
Mental health and substance use disorders often start in adolescence or early adulthood. When these disorders start at this stage in life, they can affect the young person’s education, movement into occupational roles, forming of key social relationships and of healthy habits related to eating, sleeping, and substance use. This is why it is so important to detect problems early and ensure the person is properly supported.
The course is designed for members of the public who have frequent contact with young people (ages 12 to 24), for example, parents and guardians, school staff, sports coaches, and youth workers. It is most relevant in situations when it is first becoming apparent to an adult that a young person in their family, classroom, or other network is developing a mental health problem. However, the course also provides some useful information on how to assist a young person who has a history of a mental illness or longer-term mental health and/or substance use problems, as well as how to support a young person in crisis.
MHFA – Supporting Youth Course Content
Day 1 (Module 1) – Self-Directed Online (2 hrs)
This self-guided module will introduce you to the information and strategies that will be discussed and practiced during the instructor-led classes. Module must be complete no later than three days prior to Day 2.
- What is Mental Health First Aid?
- MHFA Action Plan
- ALGEES in Action
- Developing Helpful Knowledge, Attitudes & Behaviours
- Closing Activity
Day 2 (Module 2) – Live Online with Instructor (4 hrs)
Day 2 focuses on Mental Health First Aid for declining wellbeing. Participants will learn how to assess changes in behaviour and will practice critical skills for starting a conversation with someone they’re concerned about, listening non-judgmentally, and determining if further support or resources are necessary.
- Role of a Mental Health First Aider
- MHFA Action Steps (ALGEES)
- Assessing the Situation + Self-Awareness Activity
- Communicating Respectfully & Possible Challenges
- Case Studies & Debrief
- Signs of Declining Wellbeing
Day 3 (Module 3) – Live Online with Instructor (4 hrs)
Day 3 covers Mental Health First Aid for crisis situations including panic attacks, suicidal ideation, overdose, and psychotic episodes. Participants will also learn the importance of self-care for themselves after supporting someone with their mental health or a mental health crisis.
- Challenges to Providing Mental Health First Aid
- Breakout Activity & Debrief
- Crisis Situations
- Safety Plans
- Group Work & Debrief – Crisis Scenarios
- Self-Care for First Aider
- Closing Activity & Next Steps to Keep Learning
Certificate Awarded Upon Successful Completion
Mental Health First Aider
You will be certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Your certification will be recognized in 20 countries.
“I carried a lot of misinformation”
“I am recommending this course to family, friends and colleagues. I realized through this course that I carried allot of misinformation and misconceptions about mental illness.”
“Opened my eyes”
“This experience has opened my eyes to what I am capable of doing with my mental health training. I am very grateful to have been apart of this workshop, and pleased with the resources gained. Thank you :)”
“I feel much more comfortable”
“I would recommend this course to absolutely anyone! I learned so much during the two days of the MHFA course, it really opened up my eyes to a lot of things and I feel much more comfortable talking about Mental Health with others now.”
Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth Course
Inclusions & Bonuses
ONLINE REFERENCE GUIDE
Access to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) 200+ page quick reference guide that includes signs & symptoms, risk factors, and first aid steps for each of the mental health problems covered in the course.
BONUS #1 - POLICY CHECKLIST
10-point checklist to develop or check your own company policy for dealing with mental health problems.
BONUS #2 - PRINT REFERENCE GUIDE
Organizations will receive one copy of the MHCC’s print reference guide to keep on-site so it’s handy for anyone who needs it. Value $45
BONUS #3 - ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
The following resources will be also be available to you...
- 40-minute overview video of basic course concepts
- 45-minute video on anxiety in youth – what it looks like, what it feels like, and how to help them dial anxiety down in the moment
- Conversation Starters Guide – use these questions, broken down by section of the course, to start mental health conversations with someone you’re concerned about
Get a Mental Health First Aider badge to add to your website, promotional materials, and other collateral.
“Opened my eyes to my own biases”
“This was an excellent course, made even better by the instructor. It opened my eyes to my own biases and preconceived ideas. I definitely feel better equipped to deal with students in crisis.”
“Gained confidence within myself”
“I have gained a greater awareness and understanding of Mental Health issues. I have also gained a confidence within myself as a professional to recognize, empathize and provide supports to individuals with mental health barriers.”
“Has made me more empathetic”
“This course would be appropriate for all people working at the front lines with difficult clients. The knowledge shared has made me more aware and empathatic of people suffering from mental illness.”
“It will break down barriers”
“No matter where you grew up, what level of education you earned, or what profession you are in, marriage status, or culture you belong to, Mental Health First Aid is going to improve society in so many ways. It will break down barriers.”
“As important as First Aid”
“Great course!! Valuable information, this course is as important as First Aid, they should be mandatory!”
“A great deal of interaction”
“The course presentation was great, there was a great deal of interaction and learning that engaged the whole group. I have had my eyes opened, as we deal with mental health issues on a daily basis in our work.”
Meet Our Instructors
We work with a network of instructors across the country to meet your geographical, scheduling, and experience needs.
Here are some of the facilitators that teach the course...
Heather (she/her) is an Occupational Therapist with over 17 years of experience working in the formal Mental Health and Wellness systems. She is a graduate from Dalhousie University with degrees in Biology and Occupational Therapy....
Angele (she/her) has been a mental health educator since 2006. Her passion in educating communities, schools and workplaces about mental health/illness comes from personal insight into the lives of family and friends living with mental...
Lisa (she/her) has 30 years experience working in the fields of nursing and policing, and currently works as a full-time investigator in the Major Crime Domestic Violence Investigation Unit at Durham Regional Police Service. Her...
Kris Porlier (he/him) is an Advanced Care Paramedic, employed with Calian Health Services and is also a Reserve Medical Assistant with the Royal Canadian Medical Service. In 2008, Kris completed a tour of service to...
Cheryl has been working in the social services profession for more than 20 years in a multitude of settings, and with diverse populations. Her experience includes crisis response, crisis intervention training, leadership, case management, workshop...
My (she/her) background is in Law and Communications, but for eight years (first as a volunteer and then as a career), I have been working with Canadian prisoners, ex-prisoners, their families and victims. Through faith-based...
Matthew has over 11+ years clinical experience in mental health nursing, 8+ years teaching non-violent crisis intervention, has delivered Mental Health First Aid to 1700+ Canadians since 2018, and a member of the first group...
Debra, RN, BN, BA, MPA (she/her) is a Registered Nurse, certified in mental health and trauma-informed care. She has demonstrated success in senior healthcare leadership for many years. Presently, she is the owner of Limestone...
Frequently Asked Questions
Participants must be at least 16 years of age and Canadian residents.
Participants each need a strong internet connection, webcam, and microphone. Worksheets can be printed ahead of time, but are always available in their profile on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s website.
Participants each need to have their own device – virtual training cannot be done with all participants in one boardroom or classroom, for example.
The course is delivered in three modules:
- Self-directed online module (approx 2 hours)
- Live online session with an instructor (4 hours)
- Live online session with an instructor (4 hours)
Access to module 1 will be given two weeks prior to the first live session. Each participant must complete module 1 forward the proof they receive from the Mental Health Commission of Canada to our coordinator no later than 3 days ahead of the first live session.
Participants who do not complete module 1 in time will not be permitted to join the live portion of the course.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada strongly recommends that the two live sessions take place on different days as some of the content can be mentally and emotionally taxing.
Taking time between the sessions allows participants to reflect on the content and to bring questions to the second session.
The live section of the course includes instruction, breakout groups, scenarios, and sharing experiences. Your instructor ensures a safe space for sharing, asking questions, and discussion.
Upon completion of the course, you will be certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth. MHCC recommends recertifying every two years.
An in-person version of this course is available, with notable differences:
1. The in-person course is two full days of 7 hours each
2. Groups for in-person need a minimum of 12 and can have a maximum of 25
3. The in-person course is taught through a medical lens – with more emphasis put on disorders and their signs & symptoms – where the virtual course is the MHCC’s newest version that is taught through a recovery lens. This means its focus is more on connecting with a young person, opening up the lines of trust and communication, and how to guide them toward appropriate help and support. The virtual course also includes a strong focus on self-care when supporting a young person with their mental health. The MHCC is currently adapting the in-person course to be delivered through the recovery lens – it is expected to be available later in 2022.
4. While we do have instructors across Canada, if they are not local to you, their travel costs will be the client’s responsibility.
All of our instructors have been certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to deliver this course. Requirements to apply as a instructor include extensive personal and/or professional background in working with people who have mental health problems.
Each of our instructors brings their own unique life experience to their classes so please discuss any specific concerns or issues you’re currently dealing with (ie. substance use issues, eating disorders/disordered eating, suicide, etc).
Your session will also have a moderator behind the scenes and who you’ll meet at the start of your first live session. This person is there to ensure smooth operation of the technology, and also to support any participant who may find themselves triggered by the content. All of our moderators have been trained in Mental Health First Aid.
“Taught me skills that are necessary in a case of crisis”
“This course taught me the skills that are necessary in a case of crisis. I am very pleased to say that this course will help us provide clients the support they need and deserve.”
“It gave me concrete tools”
“This was an incredible course. It gave me concrete tools that I can use to help people.”
“As a clinical psychologist…”
“As a clinical psychologist I took the course to become familiar with what others are learning. I was extremely impressed by the course!!”
“I feel ready and prepared”
“This course was absolutely amazing. From start to finish, material was easy to follow, very interactive, and I felt safe to share openly. The information gained will be so beneficial to use moving forward in my teacher profession and I feel ready and prepared to support youth who struggle with mental health in various capacities.”
– Madalana J.
“I now have skills I can use”
“I feel more confident talking about mental health issues and I know I will be way more likely to approach a student than before. I now have skills I can use.”
“Learned A Lot”
“I truly enjoyed and, most importantly, LEARNED A LOT from this course. The pre-course was informative and really helped to shape and guide our live online classes … it’s a great course and I feel more prepared to face my students and help them through any challenges they may encounter!”
– Rachel D.