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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?

Core (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 on a case-by-case basis* The entire course is classroom-based and taught in person. The Adult (Core) 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.

Blended: *Currently offered for private classes on a case-by-case basis* 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 time.

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 Spring 2021, the Mental Health Association of Maryland is only hosting virtual trainings. 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, our Mental Health First Aider course (Adult or Youth) is $150. Grant-funding is available. You will be able to request financial assistance in your application.

Payment options include paying online (preferred), or via invoice over the phone/by check. Please specify your payment plan in your online registration.

What if I can’t pay?

Grant-funding is available. You will be able to request financial assistance on your registration form.

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 (Capacity: 20 people for virtual, 30 people for in-person)
Please email MHFAtraining@mhamd.org to coordinate.

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 Behavioral Health’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! Unfortunately, it is brand new and slowly being rolled out across the country. We will be providing updates on these programs throughout the year. Stay tuned!

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.

Four-Day 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?

Instructor classes for the fully virtual Adult or Adults Assisting Youth curricula, require the following:

  • 8-hours of pre-work before the first day of training. This pre-work is a self-paced assignment that you can complete at your leisure prior to the course. You will receive it one week before your first day.
  • Online Zoom training that will last three days, with 6-8 hours of content each day. This is a live, interactive course taught by MHFA Maryland National Trainers.
  • On the third day of the training, you will be required to model a section of the curriculum for your instructors.
  • You will need a working microphone, camera, and internet to participate and you will be expected to have your camera on for the entire course.
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?

Individuals: $1,500

Private group rate: $21,500 (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.

Can I offer a training in another language?

At this time the 2016 adult and youth curricula are available to be taught in Spanish (in-person only).

Is the training offered in-person or virtually?

As of Spring 2021, the Mental Health Association of Maryland is only hosting virtual instructor trainings.

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