Get Your Team Certified In Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth

Our youth are struggling with mental health more than ever.

Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth will help you and your team identify emerging issues and know exactly the right steps to take – so the kids you work with can get the help they need ASAP.

Needs Assessment Will Cover:
  • Demographics of the kids you work with
  • Staff size & demographics
  • Current staff knowledge of & experience with supporting mental health
  • Mental health programs/policies/supports currently in place
  • Any problems/trends/experiences of particular concern (to determine best potential instructor match)
If I sprain my ankle, chances are you’ll know what to do.
If I have a panic attack, chances are you won’t

At The Expert Talk, we know that you want to change the lives of the kids you work with.  To do that, you need a strong and trusting connection with them.  When you start to notice behaviour changes, it can be hard to tell if they’re a normal part of adolescence, or a sign that something else is going on, which can make you question your own gut instincts.

Mental health and substance use disorders often start in adolescence or early adulthood, and kids often struggle longer than they have to because the people around them don’t know how to recognize the signs, how to get them to open up, or what resources to turn to.

That’s why we’re proud to offer Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth.  This course was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and is taught by certified instructors.  It is now available virtually for the first time.

Your entire team is a part of the support network for each and every kid you work with.  Together, you can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, and can offer a critical lifeline to the ones who need it most.

Contact us today to book your training so your team can stop feeling helpless, and can start feeling confident that they know exactly what to do.

What People Are Saying …

“This will save lives…”

“If this course was part of the Grade 12 health portion of the Physical Education Program in high school, major strides in changing public attitude and awareness would be effected. I believe this will save lives.”

“Would highly recommend”

“I was extremely impressed with the course. We brought a youth group to do the course and we were very impressed with how the instructors interacted & responded to them. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting to build their own confidence in recognizing, empathizing, & supporting individuals struggling with mental health issues.”

“Should be mandatory…”

“This was a very useful workshop and should be mandatory for anyone who has to deal with clients/students and especially your peers. This workshop gives you the tool to recognize and deal with the behavior more easily.”

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.”

“Great refresher”

“Really great refresher on mental health disorders along with the first aid aspect – great tools to add to my toolbox”

-A.B., BSW

“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
  • Quiz

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

Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth Course

Regular rate:  $365 
OCA Member Rate:  Only $250 per person
(save $115 each)

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 :)”

– Kim

“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.”

Inclusions & Bonuses


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.


10-point checklist to develop or check your own company policy for dealing with mental health problems.


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


The following resources will be available to your team AND to the parents of all the kids you work with.  Because when a mental health concern comes up, we all need to be speaking the same language …

  • 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

Value $78 


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 available to work with your team … 

MHFA Instructor

Heather Beaton

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....

MHFA Instructor

Angele D’Alessio

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...

MHFA Instructor

Lisa Daugharty

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...

MHFA Instructor

Kris Porlier

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...

MHFA Instructor

Cheryl Legate

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...

MHFA Instructor

Shirley Buchanan

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...

MHFA Instructor

Matthew Rico

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...

MHFA Instructor

Debra Lefevbre

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

Who can take this course?

Participants must be at least 16 years of age and Canadian residents.

What do people need to participate?

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.

How long is the course?

The course is delivered in three modules:

  1. Self-directed online module (approx 2 hours)
  2. Live online session with an instructor (4 hours)
  3. 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.

Can the live sessions be done in the same day?

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.

What does the live training look like?

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.

How long is my certification good for?

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.

Is this training available in-person?

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.

How are instructors chosen?

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.

Frequently Asked Questions for Teams

How many can be in a class?

Groups need a minimum of ten people and can have a maximum of 15.

What if we have greater than 15 people?
Because we work with a vast network of instructors, we can easily accommodate large teams in concurrent groups of ten to 15 participants.

Alternatively, anyone who isn’t able to join with the group can take the course on one of the open registration sessions listed on our site here.

Members of your team who attend an open session will be eligible for your group rate, and can be included on your invoice.

What if we have fewer than ten people?

We offer OCA-exclusive open registration courses on our website so individuals and smaller groups can participate with other camp community members. OCA member rate of $250 per participant will apply.

NOTE – these courses are reserved for OCA members until one week prior to access to module 1. If, by that time, the course does not meet the minimum group size of ten, it will be opened to the public to reduce the likelihood of all registrants needing to reschedule.

What dates and times are available to book group training?

The Mental Health Commission has only one requirement regarding scheduling the live sessions – they must take place within two weeks of each other.

Within that guideline, we can accommodate any date/time combination that suits you and your team. We have instructors all across the country who are available for weekdays, evenings, weekends, or any combination thereof.

If someone misses a live session, can they make it up afterward?

The Mental Health Commission of Canada requires that participants complete both modules 2 and 3 with the same group and instructor. If a participant misses one of the live sessions, they will need to restart the course with a new group.

They will be able to register as an individual for any of the open sessions listed on our site. Your group rate will apply to their new session dates.

How does everyone get registered and what information do I need to give them?

We need only three pieces of information for each participant: name, email address, and phone number.

(Phone number will only be used in the cases that: someone is having tech difficulties joining the live session; by our coordinator as a last resort if a participants module 1 has not yet been submitted; or by our moderator if a participant suddenly leaves a live session so they can reach out and make sure they’re alright.)

If participants will not be registering with company-owned email addresses, to be compliant with the CRTC’s CASL rules, a landing page will be set up by The Expert Talk and participants will simply have to submit their name, email, and phone number to confirm their participation.

All pre-course communications will come from The Expert Talk, including reminders to complete module 1, and the zoom links for the live sessions. We also have an MHFA coordinator who is available to assist participants with accessing module 1 and to provide any other help they may need.

When is payment due?

Individual access codes are purchased from the Mental Health Commission of Canada ahead of the scheduled course and are issued to registrants two (2) weeks ahead of the first live training date. This is the “access code date”.

If the access code date is fewer than 90 days away, payment in full is due immediately to secure the dates.

If the access code date is greater than 90 days out, a deposit of 50% is due immediately and then the remaining balance is due at 60 days out.

Payments not received on or before this schedule may result in a course cancellation without refund of any deposits or expenses incurred.

What is the cancellation & refund policy?

A strict minimum of 8 registrants in attendance is required for an MHFA course to run. This includes situations where “no-shows” decrease the class attendance to below 8 persons.

Due to the class size and course requirements of MHFA, as set by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, there are no withdrawals, including “no shows”, permitted for MHFA. Full fee applies once registered.


Once on-line access to module 1 has been granted, no substitutions are permitted.

Before on-line access has been granted, a registrant may substitute their spot.

To switch registrants, a $25 + HST fee applies.
New registrant must complete on-line module 1 prior to class learning.

Group bookings can be rescheduled. Written notice must be given prior to 30 days from the scheduled course (access code date). The applicable fee paid (due upfront) will be held and used for the future booking. Once access codes are issued, no reschedules are permitted.

Please note: due to class size requirements, individual registrations cannot be rescheduled.

If rescheduling does not happen before the expiry of the codes (12 months) it is the responsibility of the client to pay for the purchase of the new codes for the rescheduled date.

If one or more individuals from a group booking do not show, the fee for those individuals’ registrations is non-refundable. While The Expert Talk will send instructional and reminder emails to registrants ahead of the live sessions, it is the responsibility of the client to ensure all registrants are in attendance.

Can I write this course off on our taxes?

Per the Canada Revenue Agency, courses that maintain, upgrade, or update your existing skills or qualifications that relate to your employment can be deducted as employment expenses.

Be sure to confirm with your accountant if this course will meet your specific eligibility requirements.

Ready to get your team trained in Mental Health First Aid?

Reach out to us today to reserve your training date, discuss the course and additional resources in greater detail, or to ask any questions.

Fewer than 10 people or prefer to attend solo?

Click below for a list of upcoming training dates available for individual or small group registration. 

“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.