Mental Health First Aid® FAQs
One-Day Mental Health First Aid Classes (including Mental Health First Aid for Adults Assisting Youth)
Why should the general public take this course?
Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addiction and mental illness. With 1 in 5 adults experiencing symptoms of mental illness in any given year, you can help save lives by being prepared.
Who is the target audience?
The Mental Health First Aid course is for everyone. People whose occupations have a high level of daily interaction with the public, such as first responders, librarians, teachers, and other helping professions, have found this course very valuable. Just as CPR helps a person with no clinical training assist someone having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps a person assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In both situations, the goal is to have the skills to support an individual until appropriate professional help arrives. Read more about our course options below to find the right fit for you!
What is the difference between the youth and adult course?
Adult Mental Health First Aid teaches people how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and substance use disorders. This is our Core Curriculum.
Mental Health First Aid for Adults Assisting Youth is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis. YMHFA is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people both in crisis and non-crisis situations.
How do I sign up?
Please see our course calendar to register for an upcoming class. Classes fill quickly! We ask that you register for a class at least 30 days in advance.
What are the requirements?
In-person: *Currently offered for private classes by request* The entire course is classroom-based and taught in person. The Adult course is eight hours. The Youth course is 6.5 hours (this does not include lunch or breaks). You must attend the entire class to qualify for certification. MHAMD recommends hosting this class in two parts to create a better learning environment for participants.
Blended: *Currently offered for private classes by request* Instruction begins with a 2-hour, self-paced online course. The second session is classroom-based and taught in-person. This in-person session is six hours long. You must complete both parts to qualify for certification.
Virtual: Instruction begins with a 2-hour, self-paced, online course. The second session is online, led by and instructor via Zoom. This second session is seven hours long for Adult, six for Youth. You must complete both parts to qualify for certification.
Please note – to access any online material, you must have internet and a computer, as well as a working camera and microphone. The class is also accessible on a mobile device with internet, but this is not recommended. For Virtual Classes, you must have the ability to log in to Zoom and be on camera for the entire class.
How long does it take?
See the answers above for class-specifics. On average, participants need to set aside at least 8-9 total hours per course.
Is the course offered in-person or virtually?
As per the above, there are three different course types: in-person, blended, and virtual. As of Summer 2022, the Mental Health Association of Maryland is hosting virtual trainings monthly and in-person/blended courses upon request. We will update our website and advise community members when we open back up to in-person classes. Many MHFA Instructors are independent trainers and may choose to host in-person classes when they feel it is safe to do so, please visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org to find additional classes.
How much does it cost? How does payment work?
At the Mental Health Association of Maryland, we offer a monthly class that rotates between the youth and adult curriculum. This class is fully covered (free) by a generous grant from the Anne Arundel County Behavioral Health Administration.
Other trainings hosted by MHAMD vary in cost. Each training will have the cost listed during registration. Payment options include paying online (preferred) by card or ACH/e-check, or via invoice. Please specify your payment plan in your online registration.
What if I can’t pay?
Grant-funding is available, thought it is limited and grant funded classes fill quickly.
How long does my certification last?
MHFA and YMHFA certification lasts for three years.
Can I host a class in my community?
Private class rate is $3,000-$4,000 depending on delivery format. (Capacity: 30 people per course)
Please submit a Private Engagement Request here to have a team member follow up with you.
What if I don’t live or work in Maryland?
If you do not live or work in Maryland, please see the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s website at MentalHealthFirstAid.org for classes in your area.
What about this Teen and At Work class I’ve been hearing about?
The National Council for Mental Wellbeing recently released the new Teen and At Work Mental Health First Aid curricula. Exciting stuff! tMHFA (teen) is being piloted in Maryland this year. We expect to see At Work in our state soon. Stay tuned for updates!
I’ve already taken a MHFA class, what can I do next?
If you have successfully completed a MHFA or YMHFA class and are interested in doing more, think about becoming a MHFA Instructor. See below for additional details.
Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training
How do I register for instructor training?
Please see our course calendar to apply for an upcoming training. Trainings fill quickly! We ask that you register for a class at least 30 days in advance.
How long is an instructor training and what is required?
• Physical materials and teaching kit
• 8-hours of self-paced prework
• 3-days of live, online instruction
• Postwork with optional self-paced module for in-person instruction
• Ongoing instructor support through the Mental Health Association of Maryland
- Beginning August 1st, 2023 it will be REQUIRED that a candidate attends a Mental Health First Aid class prior to enrolling in instructor training. This class can be the youth or adult curriculum and must have taken place in the past 3 years. Candidates are not required to complete this class through MHAMD.
- Attendance in class does not guarantee successful completion of the training program. Day 3 includes an observation of student practice (teachback), an unsatisfactory score during the Teachback presentations may result in provisional or non-certified status. If after three separate attempts an instructor does not receive a satisfactory score, MHAMD will refer that candidate to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
- If candidates miss more than 45 minutes of instruction, they cannot be certified. This includes having more than 45 minutes of the camera being off, more than 45 minutes of attendance via telephone or absence, etc..
- A Mental Health First Aid class contains 5-8 hours of content, not including breaks. This will require instructor candidates to study and practice the materials beyond the 3-day instructor training. To become proficient in teaching, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing recommends an extra 40-hours of review prior to teaching. This time commitment may differ between instructors, but please keep this in mind as you move forward with this training.
- To maintain certification all instructors are required to conduct at least 3 classes per year, in alignment with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing standards of fidelity.
If I take the course, am I guaranteed to become a certified instructor?
It is not guaranteed that all participants who attend the training will achieve instructor certification. The National Trainers will assess a trainee’s ability to teach the course based on an oral presentation of a portion of the First Aider course and pass a written post-test. Mental Health First Aid Maryland reserves the right to deny certification to any trainee who does not satisfy the requirements of the training.
What is required to remain certified?
All instructors must teach a minimum of three courses per anniversary year. Instructors dually certified in both the adult and youth curriculum must teach a minimum of three courses per anniversary year with at least one course from each curriculum to maintain certification.
If I am currently located in Maryland when I complete the training, am I able to facilitate trainings in other states?
Yes, once certified you can instruct courses anywhere in the United States. This is also true for people who were trained in another state and have moved to Maryland.
If I train through my employer/workplace, can I also instruct independently?
Yes, though if you train through your employer you may have to fulfill your obligations to them prior instructing your own courses.
How much does it cost? How does payment work?
Private group rate: $24,000 (maximum of 16 individuals)
Payment options include paying online (preferred), or via invoice over the phone/by check. Please specify your payment plan in your online registration. Email MHFAtraining@mhamd.org to coordinate. A price increase was implemented for all trainings starting after January 1, 2024.
Can I offer a training in another language?
At this time the adult and youth curricula are available to be taught in Spanish. Additional language-adapted curricula are expected to be released this winter.
Is the instructor training offered in-person or virtually?
Currently public instructor trainings are held virtually so that a broader audience can be reached across Maryland. Upon request, organizations can request private instructor trainings to be hosted in-person.